Susan O. Koozin Takes on 7 Roles in Two Acts in Her One-Woman Play at Stages

Susan O. Koozin employs wigs, costumes and makeup to transform from one character to the next
Susan O. Koozin employs wigs, costumes and makeup to transform from one character to the next
Courtesy of Stages Repertory Theatre

Tackling a one-person show is tough for any actor - one person alone trying to hold the interest of an audience can be mesmerizing or painful to watch if events take a left turn.

But actress Susan O. Koozin was more than intrigued when Stages Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin approached her with a two-act play from Australian playwright Robert Hewett that would call on her to play seven different characters in The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. Koozin, who appeared in Grey Gardens, Always Patsy Cline and The Great American Trailer Park Msuical at Stages, transforms from one character to another right in front of the audience - including wig and costume changes.

"There's a curtain that's sheer and I'll go behind it," she said. "Right now the idea is that they'll see me change in silhouette."

"These seven characters range in age and gender, and I can't talk too much about the others. They are all affected by a particular event. It's how they're all very different but they're also connected. Rhonda, the housewife, she starts off the play."

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Koozin, a former college professor, said she was interested in acting from a young age. "I saw Sound of Music when I was two, and it changed my life."

It helped that her dad is a singe and she was around a lot of music and performing. She grew up in Grand Forks, North Dakota, went to the University of North Dakota and then the University of Nebraska for graduate work. After bouncing around several states for a while, she ended up back in Grand Forks, where she was a professor and met her husband.

In 1997, he accepted a job as professor of music at the University of Houston's Moore's School of Music and they moved to Houston. Their son, 15, is a student at the Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts. "He's a musician," she says, smiling.

Koozin thinks audience members will see her in a different light in this performance. "For those expecting a wild farce or comedy, they're going to be surprised," she said. "It's not a laugh riot. It's for mature audiences. At times it's humorous."

"It's the kind of play that unfolds itself character by character, new information comes out and it's sort of this mystery that unfolds. It really allows for the audience to come up with their own perspective. I hope it would get people talking."

Performances for The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead run October 7 through October 30; Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at Stages, 3201 Allen Parkway. For ticket information, call 713-527-0123.


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