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Pascale Roger-McKeever - Fingers & Spoons Interview

Playwright and performer Pascale Roger-McKeever takes us on an honest, gutsy, and funny journey through a wife and mother’s exhilarating and unnerving experiments with love and sexuality.

Fingers & Spoons is written and performed by Pascale Roger-McKeever and directed by Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton. The show begins previews on Thursday, April 25, 2024, and is set to open on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024, at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City.

A mid-40s mom accepts her husband’s invitation to an open marriage and proceeds with a singleness of purpose no one saw coming. A happily horny journey that deflates, prods, pokes and has fun with the little fallacies we carefully curate to better foster our socially permissible selves. Provocative in its exploration of human vulnerability, the play acknowledges and embraces the acute discomfort of living out our inescapable sexuality – a shameless exploration of shame itself, this one-woman play turns many notions of self-empowerment on their head. 

Ahead of the run we caught up with Pascale Roger-McKeever to discuss the show in more detail.

Where did your arts career begin?
'Arts career' sounds fancy! I'd say for me the 'arts career' journey has been more along the lines of vocation, as in, I cannot not do it. From the age of five I knew I loved acting. I remember feeling giddy with excitement as swayed from left to right with my classmates singing lollipop lollipop on a stage in front of an audience when moments before I had not recognized myself in the mirrorNot recognized myself because for once I liked myself. Yes, I liked myself better when I was someone else. By the time I was seven I knew I wanted to be an actor but kept that to myself because it was the safe choice in my family where my 'role' was to be invisible. At sixteen, attending the Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (near Paris) I won the lead role of Shen Te/Shui Ta in The Good Person of Szechwanby Bertold Brecht. One the student's father was a professional theatre critic and was so impressed by the production that he reviewed it in the local newspaper, praising my work and writing that some of us young actors might go on to act professionally. I remember feeling a distinct feeling in my gut when he referred to me as an 'actor'. This level of outer (visible) success made it safer for me to tell my folks that in fact, yes, I wanted to pursue an acting career.

As for writing, I started writing in my early twenties in New York City after being hit by a car in Los Angeles and therefore giving up on starting my acting career in that city! Immediately I received encouraging feedback, so I continued and explored all forms - poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays, screenplays. From the beginning, my writing was about revealing secrets, shameful secrets. And there began a parallel journey of healing.
Were there any people or performances that had a big impact on your career?
That moment is depicted in my show! Without giving it away, what I can say is that I was seven or eight, attending an amateur production of a grown-up play where the heroine fights with her uncle to be allowed to do what she believes in, and I started crying hard during that scene, even though crying was not welcomed in my family. It was intense, like the flood gates had opened. I attended the production several more times (making it about the fact that my mum and sister had small roles in it), just so I could experience that fight again and cry again. When the show was over, I got a hold of the play, curious to see where all those words that made me cry came from! Night after night, secretly, under my covers with a flashlight, I reread the play and bawled all over again when I came across the fight scene. On one such night, I peeked out of my covers and promised myself to one day play that heroin too and make people cry because it was important to have a place where you could cry! And yes, okay, so the whole wide world could love me, and they would regret... I couldn't quite articulate what that regret was but I knew that the 'they' was my family. I know, it's dramatic, but hey, I'm an actor! Decades later, Jessica Lange in Francis Farmer and Sweet Dreams also left a strong impact, Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose, Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter, and the list goes on and on.

Pascale Roger-McKeever. Photo by Nogen Beck.

What inspired Fingers and Spoons?
The inspiration for Fingers & Spoons came from a sexual experience a friend dared me to write downA year later I had a 750-page manuscript, and a couple years after that began extracting chapters from the same manuscript to create a staged version of the story, which is now Fingers and Spoons. It took years, and I worked with wonderful people to help me get there. Even as we gear up for this run, we (Austin and myself) are still chaging the script a little here and there. Tennessee Williams says that plays are never finished, just abandoned, it's a bit like that. But originally, oh man, it was not something I ever thought I would write, let alone turn into a play and perform! And when it came time to perform it the very first time, when it was just a 40-minute piece, I was so scared to do it that I had to give myself permission not to do it to be able to do it! 
What can you tell me about the show?
Well, on one level, it's about a mid 40s Mom who accepts her husband's invitation to an open marriage and goes for it in a way no one saw coming. On another level, it's about a whole lot more, and has many hooks for the audience to connect with! It's a love story. It's about risk-taking. It's about showing up for all the challenges that present themselves when you take a risk. It's about learning to have more of a voice in the world, or in relationships one on one. It's about talking up more space in the world too, both literally and figuratively, and feeling one's inherent right to exist in this world. It's about having a sexual awakening in your 40s of the likes you never knew existed, and having that experience change your relationship to your body and body parts which once taboo, awkward and disgusting are now experienced as a powerful tool! It's about letting it all hang out - messy and outrageous, not so articulate and proper -because sometimes that is what you have to do to get to where you're going. It's about going for what you know down deep inside is your truth no matter the sometimes-painful consequences. It's about shame and the slow corrosion of shame. It's about becoming freer and freer. Oh, did I say, it's a lot of fun,and a rollercoaster! So, if you like rollercoasters, come along.
How have you approached bringing the show from the page to the stage?
Just like any other play I've performed, with a director watching,and me on my feet beginning to say the words and seeing what my body wants to do when it is saying those words, and slowly but surely, finding the most effective way to communicate the story in question.  
What do you think the message of the show is?
I sort of answered that above, I think, no? In general though, I don't like to think of shows having a message. I mean, depending on who you are and what is going on in your life, at the time you see my play, you are going to take home a very different message each time. I prefer to think of it as providing my audience with an experience, something that hits them in the solar plexus in a way they were not necessarily planning on, good or bad, well, obviously I prefer good, but I cannot control that, and sometimes what is bad at first turns out to be a blessing in disguise?
How do you prepare for a performance?
I memorize my lines, work with a director, then on my own, and this over and over, then I let it all go and show up, one moment at a time when the curtains go up. In the case of this show, I like to 'prepare' by being on stage when the audience arrives and dancing to music that touches my heart and opens me up, by sitting and maybe just looking at the audience as they take their seat, chat, etc. That way I get to feel the room a bit, check themout, before they do a whole lot of checking me out, but also just work out my nerves! Theatre is a conversation of sorts, an exchange. I mean, we are all in this together, right? This experience that we have as humans on planet earth, interacting with nature, animals, other humans, developing feelings for other each other, good, bad, complex, intense, and everything in between, changing, growing.
If you were a biscuit, what would you be and why?
I would be a milk chocolate digestive because I love both.

Pascale Roger-McKeever. Photo by Nogen Beck.
What keeps you inspired?
Fellow actors, great writing, relationships - with friends or lovers -  a great relationship with a director, like the one I have with Austin he totally gets me, that's rare -, reading confronting and brilliant novels, the ocean, their waves, their foam, a swim in the ocean, snow too, a big expanse of fluffy white snow.
What does theatre and performing mean to you?
It means no longer being afraid and ashamed of all the parts of me that are 'wrong', or rather owning all those parts and putting them to use in roles! It means the inner and outer version of myself are aligned - it means being free.
Where can people see the show and follow the journey beyond?
The show previews at SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, in New York City. Previews April 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. Opening night is on May 2nd. The show continues on from then through June 2nd on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays @ 7pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm.

Fingers and Spoons plays at SoHo Playhouse in New York City from Wednesday 25th April until Sunday 2nd June 2024. Tickets are available from You can find out more from

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