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Before the crazyness of tech week started, Lydia had a chance to sit down with Kate DeLima, who plays Joan, and try and get to the bottom of the Geico Gecko controversy.

LA: Tell me about Joan.Kate looking decidedly un-melancholy

KD: She’s a nurse and she really likes to take care of people, including her partner.  She especially likes it because she’s shy. Taking care of people gives her a structured way to be helpful.

LA: And she’s British.

KD: And she’s British, which is nice because my mother is British. If I get worried, I can always ask her for a little dialect coaching. She has in other productions.

LA: And is she proud?

KD: I think so!  She has mentioned that my Cockney sometimes sounds Australian.

LA: You know, I get those confused a lot. Like the Geico Gecko? My friends and I argue over if he’s Cockney or Australian.

KD: I should know that, but now I’m not sure. But you know who does have a great Cockney accent? Michael Caine.

LA: Well, Michael Caine is practically made of Cockney.

KD: Ha! Actually, according to my mother, that was a big deal in the 60s. He basically made a living playing working class people, and that was not the way it was done.

LA: Right, like Alfie.

KD: I’ve actually never seen it.

LA: Oh, you need to.

KD: Okay, I will.

LA: What else have you been in recently?

KD: I did the Boston Theater Marathon with Bevin, and I had to do part of the “Single Ladies” dance. That’s actually why I knew I wanted to work on Melancholy Play, because of having worked with Bevin. Other than that, I’m more often in musicals.

LA: How is the process different in a musical than a straight play?

KD: The process of finding your character is much more thorough in a play. You get to dig into relationships. Musical theater has more ingredients, it’s more technical. My next show, actually, is a musical: City of Angels at Longwood. It’s pretty much the opposite of this. A big cast and lots of music.

LA: What do you do to find a character?

KD: A lot of it is just trial and error. I like room to play. Also, especially in this case where there’s not a lot of text, and because it’s a short show, and not very self-revealing, you really have to trust the director. It’s great to be able to just do whatever Bevin says. She allows for experimentation and give and take.

LA: What do you do when you’re not acting?

KD: I’m a tutor ( I tutor middle and high school students. And I’m getting my MBA. I also have a dog, two cats, and a snake, so that’s fun.

LA: What do you do when you’re melancholy?

KD: I read a lot. My friend sent me a book, one of her favorites, which I’m saving for when I’m melancholy next. I lie around. Sometimes I watch bad tv. I’ve heard that there’s a tendency in humans, some sort of self-perpetuating tendency about sadness. I could be making this up, but we know to get ourselves out of it, internally. But instead, we choose to dig into it a little bit. Sometimes you need to play Whitney Houston. You can’t be melancholy when you’re listening to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

LA: Have you taken a Melancholy Day? Joan and Frances talk about taking those in the show.

KD: I’ve totally taken those. I’ll spend a lot of time in bed. I try to stay in my pajamas as much as possible. I may get dressed to go to the movies by myself. I’ll take the dog for a walk. I might cook a little bit. That’s a nice solitary activity.

LA: Are you someone who can’t stand for people to be in the kitchen with you?

KD: No, I don’t actually mind. I like the company, but my kitchen is so small, only one other person can fit! But when I’m alone, I’ll listen to NPR. “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” is a great cooking show. You can pay just enough attention while you’re working. And it’s not too heavy. “This American Life” is good too, if you want more substance.

Judge for yourself if Kate will make her British mum proud in Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl, opening this Friday (March 12) and running through March 20. Tickets available at

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