Natasha Greenblatt is on the Rise

Published: April 2nd 2010
in Culture » Stage

Natasha Greenblatt
Pic: courtesy of FLIP Publicity

Natasha Greenblatt may come from an established Canadian theatre family, but this 25-year-old film, television, and stage actress – not to mention budding playwright – is doing an excellent job of striking out on her own. She has written and performed a solo show in high schools across the Greater Toronto Area, starred in the independent feature film Sheltered Life, and played the lead role in The Diary of Anne Frank, both at the Segal Centre in Montreal and at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton. She is also developing shows with two playwriting units at Theatre Passe Muraille and Nightwood Theatre in Toronto.


This month, Greenblatt co-stars as a 17-year-old girl with an unusual dilemma in Theatre Smash’s world premiere of A Boy Called Newfoundland. Written by acclaimed Canadian playwright Graeme Gillis, Newfoundland tells the story of Newfoundland ‘Flounder’ Willow, an awkward 15-year-old cadet. When his mother returns home from her second honeymoon without her husband, Newfoundland and his sisters struggle to recreate the family and home they once knew.


Shalom Life recently spoke with Greenblatt about her quirky role, her developing career, and a unique trip she took to the Middle East last year.


Tell me a bit about your role in A Boy Called Newfoundland.


My role is Brigid, and she is Newfoundland’s sister. She’s a bit of an antagonist in a lot of ways, but the thing that’s really different and strange about Brigid is that she’s actually in love with Newfoundland. She loves everyone in the play a lot more than maybe she should. It’s a family that is very very intertwined, and what happens is the father doesn’t come back from a vacation he and the mother go on, so I think she’s struggling to understand her feelings towards everyone in the family, but specifically she has what is described by the playwright as an “uncomfortable jones for her brother.”


What drew you to the play?


I love the writing. The story is pretty normal – as I was saying before, a close-knit family and what happens when the father doesn’t come home – but the way each character interacts with the others, the way they speak the vocabulary, the things that happen – a lot of it is naturalistic, but then, you know, they’ll be going up to the Arctic in a few hours. It’s very playful and magical in that way. And I love my character. She’s badass. It’s hard – when I first read about her ‘uncomfortable jones for her brother,’ I was like ugh, you know? And it’s not something that is ever realized, but is something that she deals with and struggles with. She really owns it in a way. It’s a challenge to just dive into that and accept that about her.


How did you get into that sort of mindset?


I just had to go for it. When I first talked to the director, I was like ‘This makes me feel uncomfortable,’ and she was like ‘That’s okay, maybe it does make Brigid feel uncomfortable,’ and I think probably on some level it does, but on another level she’s really come to terms with it. So in the rehearsal I kind of came to terms with it and just really separated myself, which I think is an important thing to do with any character – separating yourself so you’re not playing yourself as the character, you really are playing that character. I do think if you are acting, you always have to fall in love with the person you’re playing on some level.


You’ve played Anne Frank twice. Does your Jewish background influence your work at all or inform your choices?


Related articles: (stage, theatre, natasha greenblatt, play, actress)

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