‘Under the Skin’ runs at Arden Theatre through March 15

Julianna Zinkel plays the daughter in ‘Under the Skin,’ at the Arden Theatre through March 15.

Lou, a man dying of kidney failure, asks his estranged daughter Reina to give him one of hers, and she must decide if she can put her anger aside long enough to save his life.

Such is the premise of Under the Skin, a world premiere by local playwright Michael Hollinger, and presented by the Arden Theatre company through March 15.

According to Julianna Zinkel, who plays the daughter, the play deals with people grappling with issues of forgiveness and family.

“It explores the question of closeness and what it means to give a part of yourself to someone else,” she said.

“My character sort of leads the audience through the story with all its inherent struggles, and a result that is, hopefully, a lesson in learning and evolving,” she added.

Hollinger said for him, “The play is less about kidneys than the dynamics between parents and children, especially the walls family members sometimes throw up between themselves.”

Zinkel said that ever since she first read the script she’s been thinking a lot about family dynamics.

“I’m something like the character I play in that we’re both around the same age and both of us have a young daughter. But whereas Reina has been estranged from her father, I was always very, very close to mine. He recently died, so it makes this play even more poignant for me.”

Zinkel, 34, who currently lives in Narberth, said growing up she always knew she wanted to be a performer of some kind, but it wasn’t until she entered Temple University as a theater and communications major that everything came into focus for her.

“From then on, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and interestingly enough, my first job was with the Arden. They have been very good to me, and, as you know, the Arden is a great supporter of Philadelphia theater.”

Zinkel has also worked with other local theaters, including People’s Light, where she is a company member, all of which culminates in providing her the opportunity to keep working at a profession she absolutely loves.

“I don’t have a lot of experience working in other mediums, but, for me, performing live on stage is what thrills me. It’s a very powerful experience to have that audience right there in front of you and all of us experiencing the same thing together. It’s almost like a spiritual experience. For me, it’s less about ego and more about sharing fabulous stories with other people.”

Tickets range from $36 to $50. For more information, call 215–922–1122 or visit http://www.ardentheatre.org/ ••