By: Brianne Rios
Recently, I was able to snag an interview with WordTheatre’s close friend Roma Maffia. Though, she might not remember the specifics of her first performance with WordTheatre (it has been 12 years since she first read in a special Brunch and Booksigning event) she knows that each experience has been a thrill as they incorporate two of her greatest loves: acting & literature.
Currently starring in the hit ABC Family series, Pretty Little Liars as Linda Tanner/Linda Taylor, Maffia explained how she has always been attracted to the art of acting as she has always loved speaking out loud the words of writers. When she was younger, she tells us, “I was very withdrawn and shy and it was the words of writers that helped me to express myself.” Who would have known!
There are many playwrights that have written richly complex characters that Maffia has loved and has imagined getting the opportunity to portray. To list a few of her inspirations: Stephen Adly Guirgis, Neil La Bute, Wendy J Francisco, Yasmina Reza, Lynn Nottage, Ayad Akhtar, Quiana Alegria Hudes, Bruce Norris, John Patrick Shanley, Suzan-Lori Parks, Paula Vogel. When asked what her dream literary role would be, she says, “There are too many roles that I would like to play to narrow it down to a single one. From the female characters of Tennessee Williams to those of William Shakespeare to those of Lynn Nottage to those of Stephen Adly Guirgis to name a few. And the reason is simple it is because each playwright gives me the gift the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes for a moment and tell their story.”
Now, you may be familiar with Roma Maffia from the Golden Globe winning series Nip/Tuck as well as other TV shows such as Law and Order, ER, The West Wing, and HBO’s The Sopranos. However, this talented actress does not only love portraying characters, but loves passing on the craft to students. You might not have known this, but Maffia is currently a Theatre Professor at California State University of Long Beach where she teaches her students audition techniques and preparing for the acting profession.
We at WordTheatre have always loved the way Roma Maffia has graced the screen with her sophistication and poise. She plays authoritative characters that show her ability to be a charismatic leader. Just last October she demonstrated the power of her presence as she held the entire audience in her hand, while reading a story by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum at Chapman University. We are proud of all that she has accomplished and all that she continues to do for herself, her students, colleagues, friends, and community.