An Interview with Clare Lynch by Emily Clemenson

Alex, Church and State

Church & State by Jason Odell Williams

Senator Charles Whitmore decides to tell the public precisely what he is really thinking with less than three days until his potential re-election. How could that backfire? A hilarious dramedy about God, Guns, and Politics, and where they all intersect. Church and State runs September 27 – October 20.

This interview has been edited for clarity

What is your theatrical background?

I got my BFA in theatre from NDSU in 2015. This is my fourth show at Theatre B since graduation. I’ve previously appeared in The Art of Bad Men, Equivocation, and The Moors.

What is your role in Church and State?

I play Alex Klein, Senator Whitmore’s campaign manager. She’s a Democrat from New York, so she makes a great foil to the Republican senator from North Carolina and his wife.

Why is this show important to see?

In these politically divisive and cynical times, this show is a breath of fresh air. It shows a politician who is honest, earnest, and willing to change his stance based on his own principles rather than sticking to the party platform. Because of the three vastly different viewpoints of the three main characters, the show gives a well-rounded perspective on the issues addressed. Plus it’s really funny.

If you could pick any line from the show that speaks to you the most, what is it?

Alex, who’s easily the most cynical person onstage, has some great lines later in the play that show her hardened exterior cracking as she begins to see a future where her candidate can truly make America better. I hope that if the audience is left with one line buzzing in their heads, it’s this one: “Everyone in this room can effect change.” With midterms around the corner, I hope this play fires people up to cast a vote in defense of their principles.

Tell me about the rehearsal process.

Because this show is pretty short, we had a lot of freedom at rehearsal to sit around and talk. Sometimes we’d just talk about our day, but sometimes we’d talk about current events and how they relate to the show, and what we hope the audience will take away when they leave the theater. Being able to do that helped the show feel more personal and timely.

Anything else about yourself or the show that you want to share?

I always feel like every character I play is built around my own personality, just with different life circumstances and with different walls and filters erected or removed. I’ve loved playing Alex because she’s like me with no filters at all. She’s not in the least bit afraid to come across as bitchy or bossy.

By Emily Clemenson