Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

Cast Profile – Andrea Cirie (Kathryn)

Andrea Cirie

Andrea Cirie



Andrea Cirie is reprising the role of Kathryn Townsend, which she played in the world premiere of A View of the Harbor this past July at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. While this is her MRT debut, Andrea has worked in a number of New York theatres and in regional theatres across the country. She has several TV appearances to her credit, including Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Guiding Light and As The World Turns. A View of the Harbor is her second time acting in a Richard Dresser play, as she has also appeared in The Pursuit of Happiness at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival.


Andrea was gracious enough some time out of her busy schedule during tech week to answer a few questions on “A View of the Harbor” and her character, Kathryn Townsend.


You have now had the chance to act in two of Richard Dresser’s three plays on class and happiness. How would you compare “A View of the Harbor” with “The Pursuit of Happiness?” What are your own feelings on personal fulfillment?


 The most striking difference between View and Pursuit is the tone of the two plays–although they deal w/ similar issues, Pursuit is by far more overtly comic (although View of the Harbor is also a comedy!).  But I think the feel of the play is darker, the humor a bit more off beat.


 As far as my own ideas of fulfillment, I’d say that a lot of the characters in these plays have an idea or image of something that will make them “happy” and it turns out being inaccurate.  This is definitely something I have found in my own life–idealizing an image or idea of what I THINK will make me feel fulfilled, and being just downright wrong, or wonderfully surprised by something simpler and seemingly more attainable that has always been within my reach or, within myself.


This is your second time playing Kathryn. How has the character or your understanding of her evolved over time?


My understanding of Kathryn has changed in that I appreciate her vulnerability more this time around.  She has to survive in this house where she feels very much trapped, and has a mode of survival that has to be forceful enough to go toe to toe w/ her Father, Daniel. 


What also strikes me about her is how covertly she goes about getting what she needs.  Daniel describes her at one point as “crafty”—and I don’t think that is a choice to merely be wicked in some way—this family, like so many families, does not communicate in the most direct fashion a lot if the time.  The behavior becomes pattern and it has evolved after years of self preservation–particularly w/ Kathryn.


What is it like being the only person ever to play your character? What would it be like to watch someone else play Kathryn?


It is a great deal of fun being the only person to have played a role–in many ways more liberating than doing a role in Shakespeare that thousands of actresses have done over the years.  As far as watching someone else do the role—I think I would love it!  I’d be curious to see someone else’s take on her.


What attracted you the role of Kathryn in “A View of the Harbor”?


 I was initially asked to do one of the early readings of A View of The Harbor while I was performing the role of Annie in Pursuit of Happiness, so I was thrilled to dive into Rick Dresser’s world again–he has been a hero of mine for many years.  After doing that reading and working w/ Andy Mathews who plays Daniel, I was even more drawn to working on the play–he is a wonderful actor who I’ve worked with at other theatres over the years, so I was drawn to the idea of collaborating with him–especially because of the bizarre and often contentious relationship between Kathryn and her Father. I feel lucky to have such a challenging role to work on—- I think Kathryn is a wonderful, quirky, complex character that I enjoy exploring every day!



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