Gayle Alexander

F“I have never been in a play. John, my brother, is the director and he has been doing community theater for years. Since it was him, I wasn’t scared of auditioning and just had fun with it. The first one is hard, but the more I get into the process, and the more I practice with the others, the more natural it becomes. There is a scene where I get mad and last night I was yelling so loud, that I spit. I have always liked being the center of attention and I am not scared of being in front of people. I was a lay speaker for the Methodist church and speaking in front of people doesn’t bother me and this group is so seasoned that they are all bringing me along and giving me tips. I know Big Mama and it is easy for me to pick up on her. She loves and is devoted to her husband, that is me. She loves and is devoted to her son, I am devoted to my kids. She is bossy and I am a bossy girl. She is all the women we have ever known in the South and I identify with her. There is a lot of Gayle in Big Mama and Big Mama in Gayle. Opening night will be terrifying but I am already thinking about auditioning for another southern role after this. I don’t have any accent and I need a voice coach who can teach me so I can play something besides crazy southern. It takes a lot of time to do these shows and my husband does shift work so he kisses me goodbye in the morning and I kiss him goon night when I get into bed and that is all that we are seeing of each other. I miss him and that is the one drawback. I get home at night and I can’t go to sleep because I am so keyed up and have so much energy. They say the adrenaline will really be rushing when the shows begin. We are a family and I want to text all of them all of the time. I will miss them so much when it is over.”

“I had a paradigm shift when I hit 50. My dad died and I took care of my mother. I became friends with Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough and she introduced me to the world of artists and instead of talking clothes, diets, children and husbands, we talked about travel and books, The conversation was so different. My husband thinks I have become a lot more liberal. It is exciting to be 56 and have an awakening. One day soon my kids will be goneI won’t be playing the very active role of mama. I am not scared of getting old, I just hate that my body is getting old. I am excited about what is to come.”

Gayle is Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Mobile Theatre Guild. Friday-Sunday, January 17-February 12

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