Linda Gehringer: The Gift of Plays

SCR Staff
 | Jul 09, 2020
Linda Gehringer
​Linda Gehringer

These days, actor Linda Gehringer says she gets this question most often: “What is your favorite role?”

She smiles: “And I freeze!” she relates. “In that moment, I can’t remember anything I have been in!”

But, given a little time for reflection, she does remember the wonderful times she has had in plays at South Coast Repertory. “The roles that I have been able to play here have almost all been gifts—real gifts,” she says.

Here are a few of her favorite plays and roles.

Good As New
Gehringer, Robin Mary Florence and Stephen Rowe in Good as New.
Hold Please
Kimberly K. King, Gehringer and Tessa Auberjonois in Hold Please.

Good as New by Peter Hedges (1997)
directed by Martin Benson
Role: Jan
“The story takes place on the day a woman comes home from getting a facelift. My head was totally bandaged and my face was painted in bruises because it was all done in real time. It was so, so funny and yet heartbreaking and I felt so free. This show is when I started to realize what new plays do to me as an actor: they free me and my imagination and my sense of humor to run wild.”

Hold Please by Annie Weisman (2001)
directed by Mark Rucker
Role: Grace
“This wonderful comedy is about four secretaries. Then, during rehearsal, the 9/11 attacks happened. When we came back to work, the play seemed so lightweight. But once we had an audience they were so happy to laugh! You could feel the gift of theatre.”

The Piano Teacher
Gehringer​ and Kevin Carroll in The Piano Teacher.
The Language Archive
Laura Heisler and Gehringer in The Language Archive.

The Piano Teacher by Julia Cho (2007)
directed by Kate Whoriskey
Role: Mrs. K.
“I was alone on stage talking to the audience for a good deal of the play and then had to play the piano, which I hadn’t done since I was a child. A wonderful memory!”

The Language Archive by Julia Cho (2010)
directed by Mark Brokaw
Role: Alta
“There were so many dialects and characters, and speaking in a made-up language in this play. There’s nothing like working hard, though. Another wonderful memory!”

Getting Frankie Married and Afterwards
by Horton Foote (2002)
directed by Martin Benson
Role: Georgia Dale
“This play was the first time I was married to Hal Landon Jr. onstage—it was crazy colorful comedy and we loved it!”

Going to a Place
Hal Landon Jr. and Gehringer in Going to a Place where you Already Are.
The Roommate
Tessa Auberjonois and Gehringer in The​ Roommate.

Going to a Place where you Already Are
by Bekah Brunstetter (2016)
directed by Marc Masterson
Role: Roberta
“This was the next time that Hal [Landon Jr.] and I played husband and wife on stage. The story life, love and religion in the most imaginative, colorful and funny ways. It was a great play for our audience—we could feel that.”

The Roommate by Jen Silverman (2017)
directed by Martin Benson
Role: Sharon
“I learned something about myself in that play. It was a role where I got to do everything: be funny, tragic, dance, smoke pot, scream, cry, love—so much. And when it was over, I realized I missed it because my own life is not that colorful and it was so great to use every inch of myself.”

The Canadians
Gehringer, Kyle T. Hester and Corey Dorris in The Canadians.

The Canadians by Adam Bock (2019)
directed by Jaime Castañeda
Roles: Johnny, Mayor Claudette, Oliver, Indian Princess, Man on Deck Nine
“Thinking about this experience—my most recent play at SCR—cracks me up! [What the audience couldn’t see was] me, backstage, running quickly to change costumes (and genders) for the 5 characters I portrayed. And grabbing hockey gear! This was an extraordinary experience that I won’t soon forget.”

Here are a few more:

  • All My Sons by Arthur Miller (2000, directed by David Emmes). “One word: Remarkable!”
  • Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn (2003, directed by David Emmes) “Richard Doyle and I tried desperately not to laugh—and I love being that tickled by a play!”
  • The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow by Rolin Jones (2003, directed by David Chambers). “This story was so unique and cool…and it made me feel young.”
  • Retreat from Moscow by William Nicholson (2004, directed by Martin Benson) “Martin (director Martin Benson) told me to make it my Hamlet and gave me so much power on the stage.”

“There are so many more plays that I love,” Gehringer says. “But I should stop for now. But, thank you, SCR, for all of it!”