In 1933 France, two lovely young maids savagely murdered their employer in a fit of madness. “My Sister in This House”, a production that opens Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the White Rock Bath House, is based on the true story of the murderous Papin sisters. Neighborhood resident CATHERINE DUBORD plays Christine Papin, the sister who initiated the slaughter. DuBord tells us what it’s like to get into this dark, disturbed character.
Tell us a little bit about the play and your role.
It echoes a famous play by Jean Genet called “The Maids”, which is based on the infamous Papin sisters from Le Mans, France. “My Sister in This House” [written by Wendy Kesselman and directed by Marjorie Hayes] is about two sisters who come from a broken home and who have been sent away, against their will, to live a life of servitude. The employer and her adult daughter are rigid and abusive toward the sisters, Christine and Lea (played by Whitney Wilson) who have only one another to cling to. The pressure builds throughout the play and leads to a disturbing end. I play Christine, the older sister.
What is it like playing Christine?
I actually find it fun to play a character like Christine because it forces me to allow myself to go to those dark places within. Sue Sargeant, who plays the employer whom I
kill, makes me feel safe in going there. Playing this type of role allows you to connect with the audience on a more subliminal level. It’s challenging for me, especially when the character is a real person — you want to do your best representation of them.
How did you get into acting?
It was dumb luck, really. When I was in seventh grade, a friend of mine was taking a theater class, and as part of the curriculum, she had to go to a real audition. I tagged along with no plans of auditioning myself, but then the teacher encouraged me to try out, too — that was when I realized my love for acting. I practiced theater during my junior and senior year of high school and then majored in theater at SMU.
so, have you been able to stay busy acting?
I am fortunate — I stay pretty busy, and I love what I do. I am usually in about four or five plays per year. I also work as an agent. I do voiceover work. I do readings —I’ve done a few at the Bath house, which I really enjoy — and I help with the marketing for my family’s real estate company.
Is the White Rock area a good place for a theater pro to live?
I love this neighborhood. After a show, it’s nice to have a place to relax and hang out, and there are so many great places to do that around here. The Bath House is a wonderful cultural gathering place. It’s sort of a place at which all the activity at the lake merges — I’ve seen runners walk in for a drink of water, for example, and they notice the art exhibit for the first time. And as a performance space is nice and intimate.