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5 Questions with Rebecca Hirota

Rebecca Hirota makes her Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park debut in Jane Eyre as Helen Burns, Adele and Mary Rivers.

Hirota-HeadshotNew York credits include Vietgone (Manhattan Theatre Club), Romeo & Juliet (Classic Stage Company), Looking for Beethoven (New York Theatre Workshop) and Artaud/Artaud (Signature Theatre). Regionally, she has played leading roles at Guthrie Theater, Denver Center, TheatreSquared and Quantum Theatre. On television, she has appeared in Law & Order, Elementary, Unforgettable and Gossip Girl. Rebecca dedicates her performance to her f(r)amily.

How long have you been acting, and where did you receive your training?

I started dancing at four and performing in The Nutcracker at age 5 or 6. I did my first play, Annie, when I was 8 years old because my older sister was going to audition (her friend Emily told her about it). I said, "Well, if she's going, I'm going." I have a minor in theatre from Boston University and an MFA from Columbia University.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor, and what’s your favorite part of the job?

I thought about other occupations when I was child. I wanted to maybe be an architect like my Dad, maybe an astronaut, and at various times have thought about cooking, lawyering or being a psychologist — and who knows? I may do some of those jobs still. Once I started performing I never really wanted to do anything else. I had a dream once that I was a doctor. I was very proud of myself in the dream, but when I woke up I realized: I didn't want to be a doctor; I want to play a doctor. That's what I love about it: you get to live whole other lives — look into whole other worlds — and you get there through a process of playing this amazingly challenging game of bravery, logistics and creativity.

What is your all-time favorite role you’ve performed, and why?

I played a possibly homicidal nanny-bot in a post robot-apocalypse world. It was utterly ridiculous but incredibly difficult because of the physical demands and because a lot of the dialogue was nonsensical binary code that I had to make mean something. It was very fun.

What role have you been dying to play, and why?

Dionysus in The Bacchae. I like tricksters. I like physical and emotional extremes. I like fun tinged with danger dancing over deeper hidden depths, and I like that this seemingly comic character reverses to a very dark place.

What has been the most interesting part of working on Jane Eyre so far?

The most interesting part for me is always problem-solving. What I liked the best? Well. The people and the process. I feel grateful.


To learn more about the Playhouse production of Jane Eyre, visit the production detail page.

Tina Stafford, Margaret Ivey and Rebecca Hirota in Jane Eyre; Rebecca Hirota, Christine Toy Johnson, Margaret Ivey and Rin Allen in Jane Eyre. Photos by Mikki Schaffner.