ALBANY, N.Y. --- "The God Game" has been a long ride for Yvonne Perry, a well-respected local professional actress who has been attached to the play for nearly a year and a half.
The production begins previews at Capital Repertory Theatre tonight, opens on Wednesday and runs through May 25.
"I don’t want it to end," says Perry who plays Lisa, the devoutly Christian wife of a United States Senator who is being vetted to run as a candidate for the office of Vice-President of the United States.
Tom is a senator from Virginia and a rising star within the Republican Party. However, he is perceived as having one flaw that might keep him off the national ticket. Because he views religion with skepticism, he doesn’t sound Christian enough on the campaign trail.
During his vetting process, which takes place on the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary, he must make several choices which will affect his career and personal relationships.
Perry is enthusiastic about the play, saying, "I am incredibly confident that audiences will enjoy it." One of the reasons for her optimism is she recently finished a three-week run of the play in Naples Florida.
She didn’t have the same assurance before that opening. Because of the play’s major themes dealing with politics and religion, she wasn’t certain how Florida audiences would respond to the play.
"They loved it," she gushes. "I think that’s because the work is about nice people dealing with complex issues. These are the kind of people you want running our country. They are good people who care more about the country than they do politics. The audience enjoys spending time with them."
The actress enjoys it as well, saying, "It is such a relief to play part of a couple who is not mired in dysfunction. These are real but complicated people who care about each other and their responsibilities."
Perry is a member of Actors Equity and has opted to live in the Capital Region, making a professional career more difficult. However, her career is thriving. She’s appeared at Capital Rep in "The Sisters Rosensweig," "A Christmas Story" and "Intimate Apparel."
She also appears regularly at most area theaters that offer Equity contracts (Saratoga Shakespeare, Hubbard Hall and Oldcastle Theatre Company). She’s taught, performed and directed at local colleges (UAlbany, Skidmore, Siena and Union), and appears regularly in local television commercials (Taft Furniture and Keeler Motor). And, of course, she travels far and wide to perform at regional theaters.
However, despite Perry’s impressive credits and local reputation, getting this role proved a classic case of an actress overcoming obstacles and having to constantly prove herself.
The play debuted as a reading at Cap Rep’s 2012 Next Act! New Play Summit. In order to attract audiences to the three-day event, the producers were hoping to obtain a well-known New York actress to read Lisa.
When that fell through, they asked Perry to read the role two days before the opening. After her performance, Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, the artistic director of Capital Rep, told her if they produced the show in the next Capital Rep season she wanted her to again play Lisa.
But a fly entered the ointment. The show was put on this season’s schedule but was co-produced with Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Fla. and their artistic director Kristin Coury was slated to direct. Coury was not familiar with Perry’s work and asked her to audition in New York at an open call for professional actresses.
As Perry says, "I got the role. I lost the role. And I won the role. This makes me happy. I know I earned the role. It’s not a gift."
Perry is certain the play will be published, get a production in New York and have a life in regional theater. Will she be a part of "The God Game’s" future? If indeed the past is prologue there is little doubt Perry will play Lisa again. But unless the industry changes -- she’s going to have to work for it.