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Imagine the hilarity at my house the night the Republican National Committee (RNC)’s new “Tax Time” ad first aired.
“Come look, dear,” said I. “It’s Nanna Ingvarsson playing a demure Republican housewife on TV!”
“Sure looks like her,” said the husband. On-screen, an Average Married Couple lamented the high taxes that prevented them from supporting their kids, tithing to their church, and getting involved in good works to support the less fortunate in their community.“She’s the one from Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, right? Wasn’t she the chief bloodsucker herself?”
“Oh, come on, now,” said I. “That’s hardly her most notable role. She also played Inez, the seditious man-hating lesbian in No Exit.”
In fact Ingvarsson, a longtime ensemble member of the Washington Shakespeare Company, has made something of a specialty of over-the-top women: the dotty ex-hooker Joyce in Joe Orton’s Ruffian on the Stair, a man-hungry Portia in this year’s Merchant of Venice, a murderously sexy Mae in WSC’s current production of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love. Makes you wonder what exactly the RNC folks were looking for.
“I think if they were familiar with my work they might have gone another way,” Ingvarsson says delicately. “I don’t exactly see myself as a middle-class Republican.” She got the spot after a daylong casting call, and yes, she knew in advance who and what the ad was for. She took the job for—what else?—the money. And she concedes reluctantly that despite her decidedly liberal outlook, she’d do it again. Dedication to the theater is one thing, but ya gotta pay the rent.