Call Redialed: NEW Rori Nogee Interview: Feeling The Aftershocks

actress broadway cabaret musical theatre off-broadway play playwright producer singer songwriter theatre Mar 26, 2024
Call Me Adam Title Page. Call Me Adam logo is on the left side. Rori Nogee's headshot is on the right side. In the top center of the page is an orange circle with jagged edges that says Featured Interview. Between our photos it says Feeling The Aftershocks. Below the title and in between our names there is an auburn circle that says

I am so excited to catch up with my friend, actress, singer, and writer Rori Nogee.

I have spotlighted Rori four times over the past 15 years, and I am thrilled she was interested in speaking with me again!

After being nominated for Best Play in the 2019 NY Winterfest, her new play, Aftershocks, is getting a limited run at Theater for the New City.

In this NEW interview, Rori once again answered my call, but this time she reveals:
  • How she came to write Aftershocks
  • How this play is pushing theatrical boundaries
  • How she gets past unforeseen challenges in life
  • How this play may help someone heal from their own sexual trauma
  • So much more

Connect with Rori: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Aftershocks is about a woman with a troubled past and a history of casual relationships who falls for the one man she cannot touch, due to his own childhood trauma. Together, they attempt to heal from the lingering effects of their early wounds, but in pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones, they are met with unforeseen challenges and dangerous consequences.

*For ages 15 and up. Show contains sex, violence, sexual violence, profanity, alcohol, talk of sexual abuse and trauma*

 Aftershocks will play at Theater for the New City from March 28-April 14, 2024. 

1. After being nominated for Best Play in 2019 NY Winterfest, Aftershocks will have a limited run at Theater for the New City this March/April. What makes you excited for this upcoming run? In a festival situation, you have all of five minutes to put up your set and take it down, as the next show starts immediately after yours. Now, we have a three week run in a theater all to ourselves! We have a beautiful set and everything is more fully realized. The show is bigger and better and more visceral this time around!

2. How did you come to write this show? This show is loosely based on someone I knew, paired with a "what-if" scenario in my head. I thought I was headed for a relationship based on the amount of time we were spending together, but nothing physical had happened. I asked why, and was given a very vague explanation of past trauma that prevented him from intimacy. I thought, "Do I love this person enough to commit to a non-sexual relationship? What would that look like? How long could I be patient?"  Then, I invented the most extreme versions of these characters and wondered where they might meet in the middle.

3. What was the hardest scene to write? There is quite a bit of violence and abuse in this show, but the hardest scene to write was the one truest to life - The bar scene. Not to give too much away, but the guy I knew eventually did have other girlfriends. I wondered, "How come he could change for them but not for me?" It's an incredibly painful thing to feel not good enough for someone, and now I get to relive those moments with every reading of the script!

4. This play deals with the very sensitive subject of sexual trauma. How do you feel this play can help someone heal from their own sexual trauma? I think these characters make a lot of bad choices and often live in denial. While they try their best to change, they really don't do much to help themselves.  I hope that anyone struggling with these issues will see some of themselves up on stage, but also come away thinking, "I don't want to end up like that, I'm going to try harder to get past this in a healthy way."

5. How do you get past unforeseen challenges in life? Um...I WRITE PLAYS AND MUSICALS! Writing is therapy. It's the only way I know how to gain control over the chaos and heartache.

Rori Nogee and Jon McHatton in Aftershocks
Photo Credit: Matthew Schechtman

6. How do you feel you are pushing the boundaries of theatre with this show? So much of theater today is fluffy and fun and escapist. There is of course a need for that, but everything lately seems so SAFE. We are so afraid of offending someone that many shows end up being tame, vanilla, and forgettable. Aftershocks is the opposite of all of that. It's real, it's messy, it's human. Some of it is hard to watch. Some of it is hilarious. Just like life! I hope I created something memorable that good or bad, will make people FEEL something.

7. Not only did you write Aftershocks, but you are playing the lead as well. Why is it important for you to write your own shows in which you are able to be cast in them? I never write something with the intention to star in it, but since I follow the rule of "write what you know," the roles do often end up being good fits. Also, I was an actress long before I was a writer, having professionally been in the business since the age of 10.

As an actor, there is so much rejection and gatekeeping, and waiting around for someone to tell you "yes." When you create your own work, you get to bypass all of the politics, make art, AND make all of the rules! However, there were versions of my musical, Siren's Den, that I decided to sit out of and watch from the audience, and honestly, it was just as exciting as being on stage.

8. You have written several other plays/musicals in addition to Aftershocks. What do you like about being a playwright that you don't get from acting/singing? There is something so indescribably thrilling about hearing other actors say your words and watching audiences react to what you created. It is addicting and so much more personal and artistically fulfilling than, say, going to nowhere Indiana to play Rizzo in the 622nd production of Grease (I've played Rizzo 3 times).

Siren's Den was a raw and deeply personal work, and when audiences cried, it was like they were empathizing with what I went through. It was so rewarding when people would say things like, "I once loved someone just like your main character, you captured exactly how narcissists act." My personal experiences became universal and relatable when put on stage.

9. During the rehearsal process/tech period of the show, how are you able to separate yourself from the piece and allow yourself, as the actress, to take direction from the director, even if you had a different vision when writing a show? I have never directed one of my own pieces (Bradley Cooper directs himself in movies he stars in and it blows my mind!) I need an outside eye that I can trust, with a big picture version. Our director, Lissa Moira, has done a beautiful job interpreting my script and delving deep into the characters motivations. If we butt heads, I explain what I meant in the scene from a writer's perspective, and usually we can come to some kind of agreement. To separate myself from a very personal script, I have to remind myself that it is just pretend. It's called a "play," for a reason. We're all just playing, even when it gets really intense.

10. What is something we didn't get to talk about in this interview that you'd like my audience to know about you? I never set out to be a writer or a producer. I wrote because I needed to for myself, and when I saw people start to respond positively to my work, I decided to make it public. Producing is NOT for the weak-but if you put together a team who share in your vision and you do a good job of delegating tasks, you too can put your art out into the world. Next up, my new folk rock musical, The Impatiens. Stay tuned!

Rori Nogee, Photo Credit: Michael Hull

More on Rori Nogee:

Rori Nogee is an actress, singer/songwriter and playwright. As a performer, she has appeared on and off-Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and in regional theaters around the country. She wrote book, music and lyrics for Siren's Den: A Rock Musical, which appeared in the West Village Musical Theater festival, NYNW Theatre Festival (semi-finalist for best new work), at Under St. Mark's as a staged reading, as a full Equity showcase run at the Gene Frankel Theater, and as a concert at The Cutting Room, thanks to an artist grant from City Artist Corps. A song from the musical was selected for UNC Greensboro's virtual song cycle, Hear Our Voices. Rori's other full length play, Down This Road, received staged readings with Sink or Swim Rep, Identity Theater and Chelsea Rep Lab. She is currently working on a new folk rock musical, The Impatiens.

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