TORONTO—She’s played a necrophiliac in the film “Kissed,” a rabbi on the series “Six Feet Under,” and a congresswoman on “House of Cards.”
Now, as Vancouver native Molly Parker takes on the role of a devoted wife and mother who goes on a soul-seeking journey in the play “Harper Regan,” she admits it’s an unusual part for her—because it’s not so unusual.
“In many ways, Harper is a character who is a kind of everywoman—she’s a very unremarkable woman who does this very remarkable thing in this play,” she says.
“The challenge of that is really one of the reasons I wanted to do this play.
“I have been interested in my life or in my career … in women or characters who are on the verge of some kind of rebirth, and in that sense this is also that story.”
Written by Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens and directed by Matthew Jocelyn, “Harper Regan” makes its Canadian premiere at Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre on Sunday and runs through March 22.
Parker plays the eponymous character, who learns at the start of the play that her father is in a coma.
Despite protestations from her husband (Alex Poch-Goldin) and teenage daughter (Vivien Endicott-Douglas), she leaves their suburban London home to see her dad and ends up on a journey in which she encounters some wild and bizarre characters.
The cast also includes Lynne Griffin, Hardee T. Lineham, Philip Riccio, and Izaak Smith.
“She’s dealing with this kind of family curse, this sort of sins-of-the-father-type theme,” says Parker.
“She doesn’t know how to do it, but she goes into a number of situations which frighten her in order to change something so that she can have this experience and go home again.”
Parker says the story explores long-term relationships, and while it has Greek tragedy themes, “it’s oddly funny.”
“Even though there’s heavy themes going on, there’s just that self-deprecating humour of the Brits that comes through in this play.”
Parker hasn’t acted onstage since she did a professional play at the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver 18 years ago.
She says theatre was never really part of her career when she got her start as an actress, first in film and then television, and she’s been wanting to do a play “for a long time.”
“In some ways it’s very new to me,” she says of theatre acting.
“In other ways, it’s acting and it’s storytelling and it’s something that I’ve done for 25 years, so I am finding my way through the differences.”