A native of Seattle, Jen Taylor made her Seattle Shakespeare Company debut last season playing Imogen in Chamber Cymbeline. Now with Eliza in Pygmalion, she has a role that she’s been dying to play since she was a teenager. “At 12 or 13 I went into this weird stage where I would only watch black and white movies, because modern movies offended my sensibility (she laughs). I have no idea what was going through my head. So my mother introduced me to the film of Pygmalion, and I just fell in love with it. And then of course I watched My Fair Lady. I started working on my cockney dialect. And when I was 14 I got to play Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and it was because I was mimicking Pygmalion. Yeah, Mrs. Beaver was my first attempt at Eliza Doolittle. (Laughs).
“You’re going to laugh! Right now I’m reading Death Comes to Pemberley. I’m so embarrassed. It’s a murder mystery written by P.D. James who is a murder mystery novelist that I quite like. And she’s a huge fan of Jane Austen, who is my favorite author. And she has written a sequel to Pride and Prejudice that is a murder mystery. In all honesty, I’m only a couple of chapters in. I can’t really speak to its value yet. I bought it for my mom with the hope that I could then read it.”
“I’m always listening to Radiohead. It’s sort of my music of choice. In all honestly, I don’t feel like I have a ton of time to sit down and listen to the radio, unless I’m in the car, and then I’m listening to KUOW or the classical station, with a little bit of pop thrown in there.”
(Laughs) “I don’t have a television. I have a whole bunch of movies from SAG, because I’m a SAG member and they send you films to watch for the SAG awards, which I never got around to watching, so I’m excited to watch The Artist. I really want to see that when I have a moment to myself.”
Earliest memory of wanting to be an actor
“I was always putting on little shows. But I remember I saw a play at the Village Theatre that was their kids’ summer stage show, and I must have been 11. They were doing Bye, Bye, Birdie, and it was the first time that I had the realization of “Wait a second! These are all kids doing this. I could do this!” It was the first time I had a real concept of that for some reason. Movies with kids in it seemed really far away, not something that was real. And my mother took me to a lot of theatre, bless her. Thank you, Mom! She took me to the opera. She took me to the ballet. She took me to a ton of theatre, but it never really stuck in my mind that kids could do it. So it was the Village Theatre’s KidStage that I really realized that “What a second! These are all kids!” That’s probably when I had the clear notion that I could be on stage, I think.”
Looking forward to this theatre season
“I would really like to see my friend Angela DiMarco in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Seattle Public. I am a fan of actors, so I want to go see their shows. I want to see Nick Garrison’s show I Am My Own Wife at the Rep. I am also interested in Clybourne Park, which I don’t know much about. I’m going to see The Bells at Strawberry Theatre Workshop. And, once I close Pygmalion, I open up in Holy Days with New Century Theatre Company directed by Paul Stetler.”