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Actor Interview: Lisel Gorell-Getz helps bring 'Detroit' to the San Diego Rep

"Detroit" comes to the San Diego Rep
"Detroit" comes to the San Diego Rep
Scantena Daniels

Who hasn’t wondered what they could be doing if they had the opportunity to be who they really feel they should be? Do you try to keep up a façade so everyone sees the ‘perfect” version of you? “Detroit”, now playing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre asks these questions and leave the audience with questions to ponder.
Lisel Gorell-Getz plays Mary in the production. She describes Mary as a “sort of an uptight and trying to keep it all together person. Trying to keep herself looking good, her husband looking good, and has this idea of perfection which she is struggling with and is finding it very difficult, for various reasons.”

After time in New York, and Chicago, Lisel came to San Diego on her way to LA but the has been a working actress in San Diego ever since. You have may have seen her performing in one of the many theatres around San Diego like the Northcoast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, New Village Arts, Moonlight, MOXIE, and more. But what is it that resonated with her in this play?

“I was so shocked when I read the play, because even though Lisa D'Amour intended this to be a surreal fable, and it’s intended to be heightened reality, but there is so much about it that is real. These are feelings that everyone has. This struggle of ‘m I doing what I should be doing?’ ‘Is this where I am supposed to be?’ ‘Is this who I really am?’ She makes you question if you are pursuing something for the material aspect of it or are you being true to who you really, secretly want to be? Everyone has a secret self she says, and what are these characters secrets that they are keeping? And what would happen if they suddenly they exposed their façade and let their secret self come to the front? And I think these are the really interesting questions that this play raises.”

This is a show that seems to be perfect for the modern age where people are constantly inundated with Facebook statuses, twitter updates, and celebrity updates on what is happening in their “seemingly better than ours” lives. So how do the characters in this show react to this constant barrage?
“The characters, like Mary and my husband Ben in the play, are keeping up appearances but barely. And they meet these other characters that are the other extreme and barely living and are really struggling. And sort of the difference of these two couples and them becoming friends is what breaks down this barrier of communication and reality. And it all comes to a head when these couples get to know each other.”

But Lisel assures us that the play is not as serious as it may sound!
“Some things I love about this play is that it is very funny, it is enjoyable to watch, but the characters just go crazy and have this really great time and the audience will enjoy it as a piece of theatre. But when the audience leaves the theatre they’ll really be like ‘Wow, what does that mean? ‘ It is one of these things that people will want to talk about afterwards.”

“Ideally, these characters are an extreme version of everyone. Everyone has, to some extent, been struggling with the recession and the economic downturn, and these characters represent an extreme version of what people might do if they were faced with the collapse of everything they know. What do you do? Do you struggle to move through and keep up you front? Or do you break free and become more true to your real nature?”

“Detroit” is playing at the San Diego repertory Theatre through March 16th. Performances are Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Lyceum Space San Diego REPertory Theatre 79 Horton Plaza San Diego, Calif. 92101-6144 San Diego REP Box Office (619) 544-1000. Tickets available for purchase online at

Four hours free parking in the Horton Plaza Garage with validation at the theatre. When you are seeing the show, or want to talk about it afterwards don't forget to use the official hashtag is #DetroitSDREP

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