In her current role at Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, Tanna Frederick plays a late-1920s Polish nurse who becomes the love interest of a Jewish man. And because “Train to Zakopane” is based on real events, it requires the local actress to spew fierce anti-Semitism on a nightly basis.
“It’s been quite the experience,” she said. “It’s powerful to be doing the show given the amount of anti-Semitism that still exists in different regions of the world. … But to express so much hatred and prejudice, it’s been difficult.”
To clear her mind, Frederick runs. She runs on the beachside path from Santa Monica to Venice, from Venice towards Pacific Palisades and then back to Santa Monica. She regularly runs 20 miles at a time, all the while enjoying the scenery.
Last month she completed the LA Marathon, finishing 52nd out of 1,321 women in her division. (“It was great to have home-field advantage,” she said of the course’s Santa Monica terminus.)
On April 19 she’ll enter the inaugural Sunset Strip Half Marathon, which will usher participants down the famous Los Angeles thoroughfare.
Next month she’s planning to run the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon in Ojai, where she hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
But Frederick doesn’t just exercise for her own wellbeing. She’s using the races as opportunities to raise money for her charity, Project Save Our Surf, which originated in Santa Monica. The group supports clean water efforts, organizes beach cleanups and offers camps for underprivileged children.
Frederick said the camps allow area youths to experience the outdoors while learning about pollution, conservation and nutrition.
The work of Frederick’s nonprofit extends beyond the country’s borders. She is currently trying to collect funds to buy filters for communities that lack clean sources of clean water, such as the Ben Tre region of Vietnam.
“It’s a tiny example of where water scarcity is a big problem,” she said.
Frederick’s interests in fitness and philanthropy blossomed in Santa Monica. In 1999 she moved to Southern California from Iowa, her home state, where she studied theater and political science at University of Iowa and later founded the Iowa Independent Film Festival.
She started running as an escape from the stresses of her acting career, where she has found success on stage as well as on screen. She has collaborated with director Henry Jaglom on several projects, including “Hollywood Dreams,” “Irene in Time” and “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway.”
Her forthcoming movie, “Ovation,” which is slated to be released in the fall, is a romantic mystery involving drama that unfolds backstage at a theater. James Denton also stars in the project, much of which was filmed at Edgemar.
Frederick doesn’t let running get in the way of her work — she performed in “Train to Zakopane” the day she ran the LA Marathon, although she that her 1920s dress didn’t fully disguise the sports bra tan line she earned that morning.
Frederick said the stage manager told the audience about her athletic achievement and that her fellow cast members forced her to take a solo bow.
“It made me cry — I was an emotional mess,” she said. “It’s a difficult play to do. I figure that if I can get the physical component out and be in the sunshine and be in the ocean and be in the Santa Monica scenery and then go on the stage and spout anti-Semetic comments and go through the hell of the show, it’s healing. It’s a very powerful learning piece. To be able to do that, intellectually and emotionally, the two balance each other off. It’s necessary for me.
“It’s such a beautiful gift for me to be in this community and this neighborhood. To live here is a dream come true.”
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, email@example.com or on Twitter.