It’s a big step to go from playing an ape to embodying an English stage actress, but Lisa Fairchild isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.
She earned raves for playing a sympathetic zoo inhabitant (among other challenging roles) in Precious Little at Echo Theatre, and now she’s tackling the very real persona of Mrs. Patrick Campbell in Dear Liar! for WingSpan Theatre from October 8-24.
Before Fairchild engages in a witty back-and-forth with Alan Pollard as George Bernard Shaw, she took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.
Name: Lisa Fairchild
Role in Dear Liar: Mrs. Patrick Campbell
Previous work in the DFW area: I have been fortunate to work with so many of the DFW theater companies, large and small. During the past 12 months, I have appeared in Precious Little with Echo Theatre, Stella and Lou and My Name is Asher Lev at Circle Theatre, and Noises Off at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas.
Hometown: Hard to answer. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but my dad worked for a big corporation and we moved 10 times before I was 17.
Where you currently reside: 11th floor of a Turtle Creek high-rise
First theater role: When I was 8 years old, I played Princess Rose in Briar Rose (the original Grimm’s fairy tale title for Sleeping Beauty). It was in verse! I still have the script.
First stage show you ever saw: Hansel and Gretel. I was 4 and seriously traumatized by the witch. My younger brother thought she was awesome, largely because she scared me.
Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: The moment I put on the tiara as Princess Rose pretty much sealed the deal. The acting part was pretty thrilling also.
Most challenging role you’ve played: In Precious Little, I had to embody an ape in the zoo and also portray a very old Slavic woman who spoke a language created by the playwright. A challenge for my body (ibuprofen was definitely involved) and my brain.
Special skills: I am a speed reader and have a nearly photographic memory.
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Parking my car. The struggle is real. I have been known to panic when there is only one spot left in a parking garage. If parallel parking is involved, I go home.
Current pop culture obsession: My FitBit. Obsessed. Hate the steps I miss when I have to take it off to go onstage. I have seen other actors figure out a way to hide or incorporate in their costumes. I haven’t figured it out yet.
Last book you read: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt — for the second time! All 800 pages. It’s that good.
Favorite movie(s): An American In Paris, The Turning Point, Dirty Dancing, Silver Linings Playbook. I studied classical ballet for 15 years — I love to watch dance on film.
Favorite musician(s): Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran
Favorite song: "La Vie En Rose" by Edith Piaf and anything by Bruce Springsteen. How’s that for a split-music personality?
Dream role: Siobhan in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Sonia in Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike; Kate in All My Sons
Favorite play(s): The plays listed in previous question, plus anything by Thornton Wilder.
Favorite musical(s): I just saw An American in Paris on Broadway — magic, magic. I also love Once, Spring Awakening, and Pippin.
Favorite actors/actresses: My husband, actor Kim Titus (because obviously), John Hamm, Bradley Cooper. I have a huge talent crush on the entire cast of Orange Is The New Black.
Favorite food: Guacamole. Talenti gelato.
Must-see TV show(s): Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, The Good Wife
Something most people don’t know about you: I love football and watching Jordan Spieth play golf (pretty sure no one saw that coming).
Place in the world you’d most like to visit: We went to Italy last year, and I cannot wait to go back to the Amalfi Coast.
Pre-show warm-up: I run all my lines out loud, yoga stretches, and I suck at least two herbal Ricolas.
Favorite part about your current role: At one time, I would have said Eliza Dolittle in Pygmalion was a dream role, but I figured that ship had sailed. Now I get to play the woman who originated the role when she was 49 (!) and play Eliza.
Most challenging part about your current project: Susan Sargeant, our director, describes the play as a pas de deux. The challenge for me is knowing when my character is leading, when she is partnering equally, and when she is out of step.
Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I did a production of How The Other Half Loves during my senior year in college. The theater was in-the-round and the audience was literally six inches away. My character was supposed to be intoxicated while ladling potato soup but I got a little carried away, missed the onstage bowls, and ladled very thick, cold potato soup into a woman’s lap in the front row. It wasn’t good. But I finished the scene.
Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: Novelist or foreign reporter
Favorite post-show spot: The terrace of my condo. The view of downtown is great and the drink prices are quite reasonable.
Favorite thing about Dallas-Fort Worth: My theater community. The talent and love overwhelm me sometimes. And the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is better than therapy.
Most memorable theater moment: When I bow at the end of every single performance. Ever.