Community Players presents ‘Social Security’

Community Players presents ‘Social Security’

Janette Gregorian plays the role of Sophie in The Community Players production of “Social Security.”
‘In this crazy world, we all could use a good laugh’

Janette Gregorian has done a little growing up in a theater sense. Twenty-four years ago, she appeared in a play called “Social Security” at Pawtucket’s City Nights Theater. “I played Trudy, the ‘non-fancy daughter,’” she recalls.

Now, she’s appearing in the same play, this time with Pawtucket’s Community Players. “Only difference is, now I play the mother, Sophie.”

“Social Security,” in Gregorian’s words, deals with a difficult mother who’s been living with one daughter, but gets “dumped off” at her fancy daughter’s apartment in New York City, completely disrupting the lifestyle of her daughter and artistic son-in-law. “It’s full of quick dialogue and great lines,” says the actress.

When we chatted, Gregorian was in the middle of the show’s tech week, when all the kinks get ironed out. “It’s been one of the most uneventful tech weeks ever.”

She calls the rehearsal process “wonderful,” and has high praise for her director, Jim Sulanowski. “He is so considerate of his actors and he lets us contribute to the acting process.”

Gregorian got hooked on acting in the 6th grade. “I was in the drama clubs at Park View, Cranston East and the Just As We Are Players in Cranston.” She earned a bachelor of arts degree in theater at Rhode Island College, thinking that would “get the acting bug out of my system and then pursue a nursing career. Well it never happened.”

She did work in the medical field while working with a variety of community theaters in Rhode Island. She took some classes in Boston, and one of her teachers encouraged her to move to New York. “So I did. I took classes and went on some auditions, but I couldn’t get arrested in NYC.”

Gregorian returned home after about eight years. “I ended up doing movies. I was an extra in many films. I did have a few guest spots on ‘Unsolved Mysteries,’ ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘The Brotherhood.’”

A special moment came when she met Olympia Dukakis, who was doing a show at Trinity Rep. Dukakis had been invited to see a show called “Bricks,” in which Gregorian played the lead. “Olympia wanted to meet the Armenian girl. She and her husband came backstage and we had a nice visit. I can speak some Greek, and she got a kick out of that. Years later, I was an extra in a film she was making in Rhode Island, and she remembered me, and called me over to catch up on my life.”

Back to “Social Security.” Because it is so fast-paced and zany, Gregorian admits that it was tough to learn some of the lines “because they aren’t always the logical answer to the question. That, and I am older, and it gets more difficult to learn the lines.”

But the lines are part of the fun. “The jokes never get old for any of us,” says Gregorian. “We still laugh when we run lines.”

And that’s why Gregorian thinks people should see this show. “In this crazy world, we all could use a good laugh. This show is full of pithy lines. It is fast-paced and just plain fun.”

The Community Players presents “Social Security” through Sunday, Sept. 23, at Jenks Auditorium on Division Street in Pawtucket. For tickets and information, visit www.thecommunityplayers.net or call their box office at 401-726-6860.