By Chip Rowe
On Sept. 28 and 29, Christine Bokhour, of Cold Spring, will appear with Sterling Swann in a production at the Philipstown Depot Theatre of Samuel Beckett’s existential Happy Days.
Your character, Winnie, is buried up to her waist for the first act, and up to her neck in the second. What challenges does that present as an actor?
I was a dancer first, before acting, so that desire to move when you have limited range of movement is a huge challenge. Following one rehearsal, I realized my eye muscles were hurting.
How, and why, did you select the play?
My director [Carin Jean White] presented it. Our production company [Excellent Creature] hadn’t done any Beckett, and the few plays I had seen of his hadn’t been that interesting or exciting to me. But reading this one was emotional. We do five or six readings a year, but we thought a reading wouldn’t go deep enough.
You co-founded Excellent Creature in 2015. What was the catalyst?
It was a desire to get stories out that aren’t being seen here because people can’t afford to go to the city and pay the ticket prices. We also wanted to lure people away from their screens and to the theater.
Has portraying Winnie taught you anything about yourself?
I have found it surprising how much I talk to myself, and Winnie does a lot of forgetting — Did I do that or not? I have recognized many more of my foibles. I could see looking at this play again in five or 10 years, with more life experience. There’s a lot to uncover.
Does the play need Winnie’s husband, Willie?
You could do it — nah, you couldn’t. The play is so much about her need to be seen and heard, so it’s important he responds and you see how deeply it affects her.