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RUMSON SCREEN STAR’S CHARACTER THERAPY

siobhanfallonhogan-500x373-1332176Movie-TV actress (and Rumson mom) Siobhan Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Two River Theater this Saturday with her sold-out solo show, ‘Acting Out.’

Hers is a face you’ve likely encountered in and around her home on the Greater Red Bank Green, where she’s apt to be sighted at one of the schools her kids attend — as well as many of the staple sites of local community life.

A quick safari through the channel guide can match that face with a whole streaming smorgasbord of well-known movies and TV shows, from Seinfeld (she was Elaine’s roommate Tina), Men in Black (she was the alien farmer’s wife) and Forrest Gump (she played Dorothy the school bus driver), to Danish director Lars Von Trier’s arthouse oddity Dogville, and under-appreciated items like New in Town with Renee Zellweger. Not to forget a stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

Expect to see a bit more of her. Beginning this May, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, a Rumson resident of 10 years, will be a regular presence on Wayward Pines, the Fox TV “event thriller” limited series (starring Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard and an ensemble supporting cast) from producer M. Night Shyamalan. Before that, though, Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater — where several years back she debuted an original one-woman show entitled The Salty Sea PTA — with an all new showcase for her multi-tasking character skills.

Written by its star and entitled Acting Out!, the all-new comic solo quickly sold out its two scheduled performances on Saturday, with an encore presentation now added for Thursday, March 12. The Drama Desk at redbankgreen managed to catch up with the beyond-busy actor, mom and playwright, prior to a brief but well-deserved beach vaykay — and between a weathery year of shooting in Canada, and a run of rehearsals here on the icy banks of the Navesink.

Siobhan Fallon Hogan as a yoga instructor in ‘Baby Mama.’

redbankgreen: Your last time on stage at Two River Theater you performed a one-woman show that you wrote called THE SALTY SEA PTA. You were having fun up there, gently tweaking some of the types of folks that you often encounter here in what’s known as the Two River area, as filtered through the entirely fictitious community of Salty Sea. Could we expect a similar sort of satirical edge in ACTING OUT?

SIOBHAN FALLON-HOGAN: It’s the culmination of different area people… though never anyone specific, and never anything mean-spirited.

I take on the sort of insanity that you experience living in places like this. The insanity of the junior prom, the insanity of the college acceptance process… something that we really tend to take to an extreme these days. I’ve got an overachiever girl in the show, with an underachiever boyfriend. And I take on the insanity over how we deal with bullying in the schools, which, while I’m not pro-bullying, has gotten a little ridiculous too. You can get into serious trouble now over calling someone a “ginger.” And I say that as someone who knows how hard life can be as a ginger!

And you’re working this time with another onstage performer, Shawn Mack.

Shawn’s my musical accompanist, a big part of the show, and Peter King is the director… but I play all ten characters. The whole thing is bookended by a Conflicts Resolution Therapist, whose job it is to get a dialogue going with the other characters. There’s a cheerleader; a single woman who just can’t get herself married; a British woman who’s having trouble fitting in to the community; a Frenchwoman who’s overextending herself with work and volunteering. There’s also a former Lamaze trainer, which is based on a character I used to do in New York (Siobhan’s fun role in the film Baby Mama is adapted from that bit)… only now she counsels traders who lost their fortunes in 2008. Oh, and my mom will be in it!

Your channeling of your mom Rosemary was a major part of SALTY SEA. You even closed the show with the old song “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes.” But your mother’s name is NOT Rosemary, is it?

No, she’s Jane! I just liked the name Rosemary, and I liked the song — who was it, The Edison Lighthouse? But anyone who ever met my mother knows that the character isn’t her… She’s actually quite sophisticated. It’s actually more like my aunt.

So fill us in again as to how a girl from Syracuse, a working actor on both coasts (and wherever it is they film things like DOGVILLE), settles in for the long haul in Rumson, New Jersey? What is it that attracted you to the area 10 years ago, and what is it that makes it a good base of operations for you?

My husband (commodities trader, Pop Warner coach and Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade VP Peter Hogan) kind of grew up here. He’s from Rockaway originally and lived here between fifth and ninth grade, so we came down here a lot when we were in New York, and I fell in love with the area. Our kids all went to the public schools. My oldest, Bernadette, is 20 now, and going to Marist College. My son Peter, who’s 16, is at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, and my 13-year old Sinead is at Forrestdale School. But I love living here. It’s easy to catch a train or a boat into the city. Not that I ever worked that much in New York… Whenever I did a movie I’d wind up in places like Sweden or Australia… or Vancouver.

That’s where your new series WAYWARD PINES is being filmed?

I worked for a whole year on the show, up there in Vancouver, where we did 10 episodes. It’s a pretty expensive show to produce, and I know that we’ve been picked up for another bunch of episodes, so there’s been a lot of excitement attached to the project.

It rains and rains and rains, but it’s a great change from the sort of mob scene you find in L.A. There’s a lot of activity going on… It’s so busy, there aren’t enough crews to shoot everything… but it’s smaller, more like a creative community. There are hotels where tons of actors stay, and everyone kind of stays in touch… I became good friends with the makeup artist on the show.

The show, as you explained, is set in Idaho. It’s being likened to THE PRISONER meets TWIN PEAKS, and without giving away any of the Shyamalan plot twists and surprises, what can you tell us about your part in the proceedings?

I play Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard’s secretary. The Sheriff’s office — they are both Sheriffs at different times — is an exciting place to work, especially for a single woman with no love life. Arlene Moran is my character’s name, and she loves her job, but is very aware that she is in danger most of the time in this strange town of Wayward Pines. Hope that helps!

Has the fact that you’re sometimes away from home for those long stretches kept you from being as engaged as you’d otherwise like to be in and around Rumson? For instance, I recall that you were once on the board of directors of the Count Basie Theatre…

I was, for a couple of years, but not now. Numa (Saisselin, former Count Basie CEO) was very encouraging, but I’d go to board meetings where they’d put a spread sheet in front of me, and it was like I was reading Greek! It’s really a job for people who are seriously experienced in things like fundraising, grants, budgets. I appreciated the opportunity to be part of the board, but honestly, I don’t know how much I was contributing.

So it looks as though WAYWARD PINES will be taking you back to the Great White North before too long. But what are your plans for ACTING OUT after the Red Bank shows? And have you ever had any thoughts about reviving SALTY SEA PTA?

I never did Salty Sea after that one time in Red Bank! Maybe it just kind of belongs to the local area; maybe I’ll revisit it at some point. But I am planning to bring Acting Out to Syracuse in the spring — and from there we’ll look into the possibility of a New York run, which is the sort of thing that I didn’t want to commit to in the past, because it was hard to do with young kids.

Take it here for tickets ($55) to the 7 pm performance of ACTING OUT! on Thursday, March 12.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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