In Handle With Care, Edna brings her granddaughter, Ayelet, on a trip to the United States with her. Ayelet is heartbroken over the end of a relationship and Edna is eager to shake Ayelet out of her depressive stupor. Marina Re plays Edna in Handle With Care, a character who, according to The Observer, “Sweetly evokes the never-say-die vivacity of a young woman’s soul in an old woman’s body.”
We sat down with Marina to talk about her connection to Edna, her character’s emotional journey, and the power behind the story of Handle With Care.
In what ways do you connect with your character, Edna? How are you two different?
Like Edna, I am at a point in my life where I can look back at the decisions I’ve made and see how those decisions led me down the roads I’ve traveled. This really does bring clarity and insight, and I’m grateful for that. Just as Edna wants to pass on her wisdom to her granddaughter, I enjoy mentoring young actors. I hope that I also have a positive effect on the paths they chose.
Edna is part of a very close, religious family. She was a very obedient and dutiful daughter. She grew up in the 1940s in the new, hopeful country of Israel. Though I too was raised in a deeply religious family, I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s – the era of hippies and protests – in the United States! I spent my teen and college years rebelling. I cannot imagine Edna doing the same.
This is your seventh show at FST. What sets Handle With Care apart from the other shows you’ve done here (like The God of Isaac and The Last Romance)?
The most obvious difference is that this is the first show I’ve done at FST in which I am the only person of my generation in the cast. In Handle With Care, Edna is the voice of an older and wiser woman, which made me realize that, in all the other shows I’ve done at FST, I have had other contemporaries in the cast. I thought it would be a burden, but it has actually made me feel very good about myself, what I have learned in life, and what I can share with a younger generation.
This play has a lot of emotion built into each character and their histories. How does Edna manifest her emotions towards grief, loss, stress, intrigue, etc?
Edna has had a lot of heartache and loss in her life. She stifled her own dreams and desires to fulfill her duties. But, as her granddaughter Ayelet says, she always smiles. Edna is a survivor, and as such, she refuses to give in to the heartache. Edna has looked back on her life and is dealing with her own regrets, so she is devoted to helping Ayelet live a life that she will never regret and to always follow her heart.
Edna, like a lot of parents who sacrifice a lot to give to their children instead, gives up things for Ayelet. She thinks, if she can teach Ayelet to not repeat her mistakes, then it’s all worth it! In the end, when she has done what she has set out to accomplish, Edna does finally give in to her grief, and I believe she is at peace with that.
What do you most enjoy about telling about this story?
I love the hope the play brings, its important lessons about faith and family, the delightful romance, and my favorite – the chance to make people laugh! This story is pretty hilarious. For me personally, and my role specifically, what I love most about this play is how it displays the beauty of aging and the wisdom that comes from that.
Why do we need this story today?
So much of what is happening now – not only in our country but throughout the world – seems to be about hatred, anger, and division. Handle With Care shows you what can happen if you let those things drive you, or, what can happen if you open your heart and let love in. What better message can there be?
Handle With Care played in FST’s Keating Theatre from December 11, 2019, to March 8, 2020.