A small town in Ohio wasn’t big enough for Oswego Players’ actress Banna Rubinow. She wanted something much more.
Born in 1949, Rubinow lived a solitary life during her childhood, “Partly by choice, partly not by choice,” she said.
But for her, it was a great opportunity. She discovered early on her thirst and hunger for reading. She’d read anything she could get her hands on — especially plays.
“I discovered at a really early age that I really liked reading plays. And what I really liked doing was reading them out loud, in my bedroom, and playing all the parts. Which was fabulous,” Rubinow said.
Alone in her room, the characters would come alive before her.
She gave them life through different voices, sculpting and shaping their personalities, merely through tone.
She learned what worked and didn’t work through reading plays aloud in her room, and enjoyed every moment of it.
When Rubinow was 9, her parents began to send her and her siblings away to a summer camp for the arts every year.
“I studied theater and music and dance and art and voice and everything I could get my hands on…by the time I was in my early teens, it was mostly theater and things that would help in theater. Dance, because movement is important,” she said.
During the summers of 1967 and 1968, Rubinow joined the Gilbert and Sullivan Players on Cape Cod, where they put on eight different shows in a matter of only 10 weeks – with an orchestra.
“We’d pull all-nighters. We would pull two consecutive all-nighters. It was completely insane and it was just enormous fun,” she said.
Rubinow originally joined the Oswego Players in 1992; her first play with them being “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie.
Rubinow has since been in various roles and plays, including Linda Loman in “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, a role which she is extremely honored to have been chosen for.
Rubinow lived in New York City for 21 years and though she loved it, she eventually moved to Oswego, where she’s never stopped acting.
When she wasn’t on stage, Rubinow was reading Harry Potter out loud to her children, acting out each character in their own unique voice.
Currently, she works at the river’s end bookstore, where she has been involved in doing storytime for children for 15 years, something she loves with a passion.
“It is the height of my week. I have an undergraduate degree in theater. I have a master’s in early childhood and elementary education. Bingo! It’s perfect, it’s me!” she said.
Rubinow’s newest project is “The Dining Room,” by playwright A.R. Gurney, with the Oswego Players, presenting on February 21, 22, 28 and March 1 and 2.
This untraditional, unique production features only six actors playing more than 50 different roles. Rubinow switches between playing the lady of the house, to playing a rebellious, estranged teenager.
Whether on stage or off, Rubinow is constantly acting. It is a passion for her.
When asked about why she loves acting so much, she replied, “Why does anyone love anything? It speaks to something inside our core…to understand another human being by becoming another human being is a treasure.”