In the corporate world, employees leaving a job are often asked to sit through a sometimes grueling "exit interview" about their time at the company. Although that concept doesn't exist for Broadway performers, we think it's fun to check in with stars as they finish up a successful run, so we asked departing Seminar star Lily Rabe to look back on the five months she spent playing the smart and determined aspiring writer, Kate.
Job You’re Leaving:
Kate in Seminar
Why Are You Leaving the Job?
I am leaving because I am going into rehearsals to play Rosalind in As You Like It [at Shakespeare in the Park].
Date of Departure:
How Did You Feel When You First Got the Job?
I was thrilled. At the time, I was working with director Sam Gold on Nora in A Doll’s House at Williamstown. We were in the thick of rehearsing this three-hour-long Ibsen drama, and we got really giddy at the thought of doing something so completely different together. I love Theresa’s [Rebeck] writing and the cast was just dreamy!
How Do You Feel Now That You’re Leaving the Job?
I am so sad! We’ve all been picking little fights with each other because we are going through such terrible separation anxiety. The time has absolutely flown by; very often at this point in a job, I feel ready to go, but this is a hard one to leave because of how much fun we are having and because of how much we all love each other.
What are Three Words You Would Use to Describe Your Experience at the Job?
Happy. Surprising. Raucous.
What Was the Easiest Thing About the Job?
The shorthand we developed. I had worked with some of the group before, but even with the people I had never met, there was an instant shorthand between all of us, and a real cohesiveness. We were always in it together; I never felt isolated. It was an easy job in the best way.
What Was the Hardest Thing About the Job?
It’s very hard when you’re doing a new play that you believe in, and you want to tell the story in the best way possible. I wanted to tell Kate’s story and Theresa’s [Rebeck] and Sam’s [Gold] story. It’s a wonderful, hard thing. There is always a lot of terror when you are launching something and hoping you don’t fail.
What Was the Highlight of Your Time at the Job?
This is incredibly nerdy, but sometimes I would wake up from a nap between shows and think, “Oh my God, everyone’s in the building! I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see them. I miss them so much!” So so so dorky, but true.
What Skills Do You Think Are Required for Future Job Applicants?
Well, you have to do a lot of stage eating. Be ready to do some quick changes and eat a lot of food and talk. If you don’t want to eat while you’re acting, than don’t apply for this job! I love it now, and I’m probably going to want to eat in every play I do from now on.
What Advice Would You Give to Future Employees in Your Job Position?
Have fun! I had never done a 90-minute play with no intermission, so it is a bit like you get onto the train and you don’t get off until it’s over—and it’s over very quickly, so don’t miss a moment of it. That experience is very rare and specific so don’t miss a minute, because there aren’t very many minutes of it.
How Do You Think You’ve Grown During Your Time at the Job?
It’s been a very relaxing experience for me to do a comedy like this in jeans and flats, my hair in a ponytail. Playing Nora and, before that, Portia [in The Merchant of Venice] was very far on the other end of the scale. I think there tremendous poignancy and weight to this play, and it can be incredibly moving and beautiful, but it's also searingly, wildly funny and has a lot of heart. I have never done a play with quite so many laughs, and learning how much I love doing a comedy was a big thing for me. And being part of an ensemble: It is one of those plays where you are constantly throwing and catching the ball.
What Will You Miss Most About the Job?