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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

October 30, 2013

Meet Michael David Wilson, playing Godfrey Norton in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 9:39 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I am a Charleston native; born and raised. When I was a child, my father didn’t believe in video games and electric scooters so much as he did in books and what he coined as pedal power. So, I found myself having to rely on my mind to fuel my entertainment. It developed my imagination and subsequently I was very good at playing pretend. When I was 8 and found out there was an actual job for pretenders called acting, I became bent on turning my love of stories into a life long career.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I took a class while I was attending James Island Charter but there were hardly any acting opportunities available. A little nudge came from my mom, and I auditioned for the Charleston School of the Arts my sophomore year. I was admitted and spent the last two years of my high school career studying theatre everyday.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A: My professional theatre experience is limited to Charleston Stage at the moment, however, I have performed in numerous productions with schools and youth group drama troupes. Over the past year I have been co-developing films to be shot in Charleston prior to my departure for the big city. To answer the latter, I’d have to say Hamlet and Robert Renfield top the list right now. They were the biggest challenges I’ve had to face so far. I learned a lot from the countless hours I spent pouring myself into the work.
Q: How did you prepare for playing your roles in Sherlock Holmes? Were there any challenges or things that you were excited about with taking on these characters?
A: I went ahead and re-familiarized myself with the world by reading the story our play is based off of and watching various Sherlock productions. From the beginning, Julian told us he wanted to take these well known characters and stories and make them our own. It was easier for me, Im sure, than other certain cast members since Godfrey is only briefly described by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Steven Dietz, the playwright, took Godfrey elaborated and put his own very clever twist on him. That being said, he is an almost entirely original character with this clearly fleshing him out. As far as the challenges, I had to find a way to properly channel a man who is at a very different point in his life than I am in mine. I’m still a young man. I’ve been taught it’s important to play every character with truth, so I had to identify what likened me to this character early on so I could develop him to the best of my ability.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing your roles in Sherlock Holmes? What are you most excited audiences will take away from this production?
A: Im looking forward to sharing the stage with a group of very talented people. I hope we are able to give the audience an escape from their everyday 2013 routines and bring (most of) them back to a world that has excited and captivated since its inception.

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience with working with Charleston Stage at the Historic Dock Street Theatre.
A: I feel blessed to have been able to have my professional stage debut and continually perform at the Dock Street. It is an extremely beautiful venue. I thank Charleston Stage for that and for the opportunities it has given me as I have learned much and gained many new friends from its shows.

From left to right: Charleston Veteran Actors Patrick Arnheim as Father, Michael David Wilson as Godfrey Norton and Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

Charleston Veteran Actor Michael David Wilson as Godfrey Norton.

Charleston Veteran Actor Michael David Wilson as James Larabee and Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

October 28, 2013

Meet George Dippold, playing the King of Bohemia in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 8:57 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: In Harrisonburg, VA, where I was born and raised until I was 3, my grandma played piano and sang with me, and pulled me in a wagon (because even then I had grown too big for her to carry…) to the local library where we’d listen to different story times and watch puppet shows. When we moved to downtown Richmond, VA, my mother began taking my siblings and I to as many different plays as possible. Some of the earliest memories I have are of seeing Theatre IV shows, watching the juggler/magician, Jonathan Austin, perform at local libraries, and attending an Earth Day show about recycling at Firehouse Theatre Project where we happened to receive our own private performance! Once we moved from downtown Richmond to the suburbs, the large “costume closet” wardrobe that my mother had filled with old costumes and clothing came with us, fueling our many long afternoons of my siblings and I producing plays with our neighborhood friends in our backyard treehouse. And listening to my father croon bravely along to songs with or without the radio, and create or read the liveliest and silliest of bedtime stories always encouraged my siblings and I too.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I went to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, where I was born and where my grandma has lived for around 50 years or so now. I started out as a double major in Media Arts & Design and Theatre, hoping to pursue filmmaking and acting equally, but quickly realized just how focused on theatre I wanted to become.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A:  I have worked a couple of summers with Empty Chair Theatre, a small troupe based out of Arlington, VA, comprised of many students and recent graduates from across the country and following in the footsteps of the innovative traditionalist methods of Staunton, VA’s American Shakespeare Center. Other than that, I’ve worked with some smaller companies around the Harrisonburg and Richmond areas, but this is my first foray into working with a larger professional theatre. Some favorite roles have included Santiago in Anna in the Tropics, Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, Matt in Red Light Winter, Ralph Clark in Our Country’s Good, Orpheus/Cyex in Metamorphoses and Richard in Richard II.

Q: How did you prepare for playing the King of Bohemia in Sherlock Holmes?
A: With the King of Bohemia, one of the first things I did was to research the specifics of an Austrian/German accent as I learned my lines to make sure they were one in the same. He is a character with a lot of room for extremes–being at once a lion strutting around and then the next second a cowering mouse. Throughout the rehearsal process I’ve continued exploring how the range in his personality work with each beat of the play and continued to play with how they manifest physically and vocally. It’s been a lot of fun finding different kingly statuesque poses. The thing that’s simultaneously the most challenging and exciting part about the character is continually finding the King’s emotional core with his scandalous past and grounding it in a resonant, stripped-down way which can then serve as a basis for all of the hysterics and farce that ensue. This might be the first time I’ve played a character written with such rich contrast in the extremes of his personality, and trying to make those tangible for myself and others is great fun.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing the King of Bohemia in Sherlock Holmes? What are you most excited audiences will take away from this production?
A: I’m so happy to be able to play alongside the characters of Holmes, Watson and Irene, and am ecstatic to continually find new manifestations for the extreme highs and lows we reach together throughout the play, and find all the variations in the joy and sorrow within each little eye brow raise and pithy comment that flies between us all. Since the audience is essentially solving the case along with Holmes and Watson, we’re all real jazzed to finally have an audience to share, discover and adventure with–I believe having an audience with us to be surprised, scared and snoopy alongside us each night will bring a unique sort of partnership to this show. I am most happy for everyone to feel they’ve truly journeyed alongside the great detective from London to the Swiss Alps and back after watching this show!

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience so far on being a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage.
A: It’s been so wonderful to work so intensely and at such an adventurous pace on so many different projects at once. And I know it will continue to change and grow and challenge all of us through the rest of the season. This has been such an amazing opportunity to meet and work with so many talented, fun and unique people, and to see how a company can be truly successful with that team working towards such an effective and worthwhile mission. Even in this short time, it feels amazing to witness the aftermath of the teaching outreach and productions that Charleston Stage does with the Resident Acting Company, and to truly feel part of something bigger than oneself–it is a humbling and invigorating sensation that I will strive for in the rest of my career–a balance between service and creation.

 

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor George Dippold as The King of Bohemia.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor George Dippold as The King of Bohemia.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors George Dippold as The King of Bohemia and Jesse Siak as Dr. Watson.

October 25, 2013

Meet Aaron Hancock, playing Professor Moriarty in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 9:00 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I grew up in the small town of Vicksburg, MS, right by the Mississippi River.  As a matter of fact, I had horrible stage fright as a child and I did not like to sing or speak in front of people. I tried many different activities:  soccer, ballet, karate.  However my social anxiety kept me from sticking with them for very long. My little brother, his best friend, and I would play epic games outdoors when we were younger and assume different roles of our favorite video game and television cartoon characters. I had two older siblings who were extremely talented in the theater arts, and thanks to good ole sibling rivalry, I made up my mind in high school to get over my fears and try to be “just as good, if not better.” I participated in musicals and show choir in high school and began to overcome my fears.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I studied vocal performance and later mental health counseling at Mississippi College. I participated in musicals and opera scenes while I was there.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A: Before Charleston Stage, I had a couple of gigs with Newstage Theatre and Mississippi Opera in Jackson, MS. The summer before my senior year of college I spent a summer in Falmouth, MA, with the College Light Opera Company and spent eleven weeks performing 9 different shows. There is hardly a role I did not enjoy, but some of my all-time favorites are Tony (West Side Story), Bud Frump (How to Succeed), and Will Parker (Oklahoma!).

Q: How did you prepare for playing Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes? Were there any challenges or things that you were excited about with taking on this character?
A: Aside from studying the content of the script and finding Moriarty’s voice and accent, I researched a little of the history and appearances of Moriarty in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. I’ve watched a few of the different interpretations of his character including the modern retelling of the stories of Sherlock Holmes on BBC. The character is very enigmatic and open to interpretation, which makes for an exciting and challenging process.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing “Professor Moriarty” in Sherlock Holmes? What are you most excited audiences will take away from this production?
A: How could I not look forward to playing a sinister, evil villain each night? I’m thrilled to share the stage with talented actors whom I can call friends and perform with amazing sets and costumes. I can only hope the audience walks away happily having been entertained by the retelling of a timeless story.

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience so far on being a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage.
A: I can fill much more than a paragraph with my thoughts and experiences so far, but I’ll just say I’m endlessly grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love for a bit longer. I love the beauty of this city. The Dock Street Theatre is gorgeous and performing in it is a privilege. Teaching children, building their confidence, and sharing the arts with them are even more important and so very fulfilling. The staff of Charleston Stage is so fun to work with and that makes all the difference.  Lastly, I’m lucky to be able to share this experience with the other six RAs and form lasting friendships with them. I’d definitely recommend it to any young actor out there.

 

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Aaron Hancock as Professor Moriarty.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Aaron Hancock as Professor Moriarty and Charleston Veteran Actor Patrick Arnheim as Sid Prince.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler and Aaron Hancock as Professor Moriarty

October 23, 2013

Meet Katrin Murdock, playing Irene Adler in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 9:40 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but spent three years living in London, England, with my family where I first remember seeing live theater. My parents tried to take my brothers and I to as many shows as possible. I remember seeing shows like Phantom of the Opera, Annie Get Your Gun, Cats, Starlight Express and just being mesmerized by the music and the spectacle of the theater.

We moved back to Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan, and I was very blessed to be surrounded by all of its incredible music programs for youth. I joined my church and school choirs, and also sang and traveled to Vienna, Austria, with the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale, quickly realizing how much I enjoyed singing. I was and still am quite shy by nature, so singing became an outlet for me to build my confidence and express myself.  I also joined the Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild, which introduced me to straight theater for the first time. Even though I was singing all of the time in choirs, I actually didn’t perform in my first musical until high school. I began taking private voice lessons my junior year, and performed my first lead role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. After that, I was hooked, and I considered for the first time that music performance was something I wanted to seriously pursue.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I studied Vocal Performance and received a Bachelor of Music Degree from Western Michigan University in 2008, and then I went on to study Musical Theatre and Opera Performance and received a Masters of Music Degree from Arizona State University in 2011.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A: Previously I have worked with Phoenix Theatre in Phoenix, AZ, Theater Works in Peoria, AZ, and Cornwell’s Dinner Theater in Marshall, MI.  Some of my favorite roles include Wendla in Spring Awakening, Cinderella in Into the Woods, Little Edie in Grey Gardens the Musical, and Woman 1 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Q: How did you prepare for playing the role of Irene Adler? Were there any challenges or things that you were excited about with taking on this character?
A: Irene Adler is probably the strongest female character I have ever had to play, which is incredibly exciting and daunting at the same time. Irene is extremely intelligent, on the same level as Sherlock, and she is at times Sherlock’s rival, admirer, colleague, and ultimately love interest. In order to prepare for this role, I wanted to shy away from the current TV shows, Sherlock and Elementary, so as not to be influenced by their interpretations. Instead I went directly to the source of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, A Scandal in Bohemia, and noted all of the details describing Irene and her actions to be the basis of the character. Irene is quite complex; she is made up of three main layers: sweetly loving, seductively manipulating, and fearlessly vengeful. Since Irene is so complex, it has been a challenge to play all of her subtleties and manipulations in a way that keeps the audience guessing rather than giving away parts of her character and the story too soon. I am also really excited to have the opportunity to explore this challenging role since it is quite different from my own personality and the characters I usually play.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing Irene Adler and what are you most excited audiences will take away from this production?
A:  I am especially excited to be performing alongside such a talented group of actors! I am constantly impressed and love watching and learning from them each night in rehearsal. I also look forward to finding different ways in which Irene can lure, trick, and react to the other characters in each performance. I’m very excited for audiences to enjoy this fun ride of intelligence and wit. The story contains humor, mystery, thrill, and romance; something for every type of theatergoer to enjoy!

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience so far on being a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage.
A: I constantly have to pinch myself that I get to work and perform not only in this absolutely beautiful and historic city, but also in one of the oldest theaters in America! I am so grateful for this opportunity, and the experience so far has been incredible. As an actor, much of the time, you are auditioning show-to-show, moving from city-to-city, you could have a job for one month, and then the next month be on the job hunt again. Charleston Stage guarantees their Resident Actors roles in multiple shows over a 10-month period, which is a unique opportunity and a wonderful way for an actor to gain experience and build up their resume. Not only are we rehearsing and/or performing each week, but we also get to teach the youth acting classes, which is a great learning experience as well.

So far I have performed the role of Judy in the musical, Nine to Five, and performed alongside some of the most talented kids in Charleston in the play, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I am surrounded by 6 other insanely talented Resident Actors, two incredibly smart directors, an awesome crew, and actors in the Charleston community who have been extremely warm and welcoming. I have absolutely no complaints and I cannot wait to see what the rest of Season 36 at Charleston Stage has in store!

 

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes and Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

Charleston Veteran Actor Michael David Wilson as Godfrey Norton and Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

From left to right: Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors George Dippold as The King of Bohemia, Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes and Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

October 21, 2013

Meet Jesse Siak, playing Dr. Watson in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 8:52 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I grew up in Hendersonville, NC. I always had a very active imagination, and, to my embarrassment, I would act out plays and movies alone in the backyard. My parents noticed this, and decided I should focus these little improvs in a more structured way…

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I started taking classes at Flat Rock Playhouse when I was 10 years old. I graduated from every level of acting education there and went on to receive my BA in Theatre Education from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?

A: I have worked mainly at Flat Rock Playhouse and South Carolina Children’s Theatre.  Some favorite roles include: Narrator (The Rocky Horror Show), Steve/Randy/Dave (Almost, Maine), Aviator (The Little Prince), Bellhop (Lend Me a Tenor) and Jose (Man of La Mancha) with Flat Rock Playhouse; Jamie (Bright Lights, Big City), Buddy (The Mistakes Madeline Made), Ratty (The Wind in the Willows) and Bobby (The Boy Friend) with Catawba College.

Q: How did you prepare for playing the iconic role of Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes? Were there any challenges or things that you were excited about with taking on this character?

A: I really tried to get into the psyche of Watson. I did a lot of research on the character in plays, movies, tv shows, and the original books, trying to figure out possible physical and vocal mannerisms. A challenge I faced was trying to create a Watson that was unique, fresh, and interesting while also fitting into the archetypal mold of the character.

Q: What are you most excited about that audiences will see in this production?

A: I can’t wait for audiences to see the banter among Holmes, Watson, and the King of Bohemia… I believe this will be fresh each night, and I’m very excited to play off of the audience’s energy and the energy of my fellow castmates.

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience so far on being a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage.

A: I have absolutely loved being a Resident Actor. I get to teach and coordinate the TheatreWings program during the day, and I get to step into another person’s mind and body each night. I love this community and my colleagues. I am really blessed to have been given this opportunity, and I’m thankful every day for it!

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes and Jesse Siak as Dr. Watson.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Jesse Siak as Dr. Watson.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors George Dippold as The King of Bohemia and Jesse Siak as Dr. Watson.

October 18, 2013

Meet Patrick Arnheim, playing Sid Prince in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 10:32 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A:  I grew up in Westfield and Princeton, New Jersey. I have two siblings, and we were all encouraged by our parents to participate in music and theater at very young ages. My first experience on stage was kindergarten, I believe. I really took to theater as a senior in high school, though.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I studied theater at the University of Mississippi, and at Circle in the Square Theater School on Broadway. Both fantastic, and very different experiences.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?

A: I was lucky to work a bunch on-camera and on stage following my two years at Circle. I lived in New York for about ten years, happily pounding pavement. I’m not sure I’ve played a favorite role yet. I’m insatiable like that. I did really enjoy playing Marty in House of Yes last year, here in Charleston with What If? Productions.

Q: How did you prepare for playing your characters in Sherlock Holmes?

A: There’s always a challenge in playing any role, for me. It takes me a while to relax into any part. I’m not a great table-reader. I guess I am most excited to get the chance to be a part of a show at Dock Street Theatre. It’s a legendary theatre, and I’m definitely pumped to work with this great cast Charleston Stages has put together.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing your roles in Sherlock Holmes?

A: I love playing the off-color role. The bad guy. The dim guy… Sid Prince isn’t necessarily ‘bad’ nor ‘dim’ but he has flavors of both. He’s a fun role, and I dig his bad intentions. I’m most excited for audiences to see how fun a Sherlock Holmes show can be. This isn’t a script that feels stuffy, or had to have dust blown off it before reading. I’m also excited for the audiences to see how hard we’ve worked on this show. There are some great performances in this Sherlock. It’s been a pleasure to see all these actors working so hard every day in rehearsal. Sherlock and Watson (Jacob Dickey and Jesse Siak) have a great chemistry together, which is so vital for this production.

Q: This is your debut with Charleston Stage! Please share with us your thoughts on working the company.

A: I’m very excited about my ‘debut’ here! Charleston Stage has a great family feel. And I can’t wait to play Sid on the Dock Street stage! Everything has been very professional AND fun, which is a rare mix.

Charleston Veteran Actor Patrick Arnheim as Sid Prince.

 

Charleston Veteran Actor Patrick Arnheim as Sid Prince and Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Celine Keefe as Madge Larabee.

Charleston Veteran Actor Patrick Arnheim as Sid Prince.

October 17, 2013

Meet Jacob Dickey, Starring as Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 9:19 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I grew up all over the place. My Dad is a Marine so I have moved seven times, lived in eight different homes (9 if you count an intra-city house swapping), and on two continents. I was, however, born in Oceanside, CA, and consider it “where I am from”. As a child, I was mainly involved in soccer until around 5th grade when I got into my church musicals. It really wasn’t until eighth grade, the first year my family was living in Germany on an American base, when I got involved with community theatre. I can honestly say my work with the Kelley Barracks Community Theatre is what cemented my love of theatre and proved to myself that I could make a career out it.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, where I received a BA in Musical Theatre.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A: Besides my university’s summer children’s theatre program, this is my first professional gig! Some of my favorite roles in college, however, include Allen in bobrauschenbergamerica, Hanschen in Spring Awakening, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Paul in Kiss Me, Kate and Harry Brewer in Our Country’s Good.

Q: How did you prepare for playing the iconic role of Sherlock Holmes? Were there any challenges or things that you were excited about with taking on this character?
A: I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, so I guess I started preparing in seventh grade…that sounds so lame. But it’s true. Most of my “research” happened before I knew I was even going to be cast as Sherlock. I’ve seen the newest movies with Robert Downey, Jr. as well as the BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch and, having read the stories as a kid, have a pretty strong image of who Sherlock is or, rather, who he should be. My preparedness is, interestingly enough, also where my biggest challenge lay: portraying such an iconic character with a respect for the original, while still maintaining a level of honesty and artistic creativity. Basically everyone loves Sherlock, so I didn’t want to screw it up. Fictional icons, especially those from a literary canon, are subject to any reader’s imagination. Our Sherlock is very close to the original: he is a dandy, a gentlemen, a scholar, and a little bit of an jerk all rolled into one. But he is fiercely loyal to those he cares most about. I hope to portray the many layers of his persona without losing any of Conan Doyle’s vision.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing Sherlock Holmes?
A: I love the pace of the show! It is very much like Sherlock’s thought processes in that it seems to fly by and pick up what it needs as it goes along. I hope that audiences will be so caught up in the old-fashioned mystery and style of the show that they get lost in it and allow themselves to be taken back to 19th century Europe for just a little while before walking back out into reality. I can always tell a good show when I don’t want it to end. I only hope they leave wanting more twists and turns. P.S. I’m also excited to smoke on stage. I have never done that. It’s kind of a little dream of mine.

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience so far on being a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage.
A: It’s incredible. As a young actor it is such an amazing opportunity. To be able to work, CONSISTENTLY, for ten months in a gorgeous city in a beautiful theatre with amazing people and to be paid for it and to be so appreciated for it and to play killer roles…it is a very, very good feeling and not something that is very common. We RA’s are spoiled and we love it. I know when I leave here I will not only have an incredible list of professional credits to my name, but I will have experience beyond what I bargained for. Teaching kids theatre on top of performing was, honestly, a little daunting before I got here, but now that I am in the thick of it it is such a rewarding feeling that at the end of the day, it is so freaking worth it. In conclusion: I don’t hate it.

 

From Left to Right: Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors Jesse Siak as Watson and Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler and Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes.

Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes.

October 16, 2013

Tina Shaw Discusses Her Son’s Involvement with Charleston Stage as a Young Actor

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 11:02 am

Q: Were there any activities growing up that led to your son Luke’s passion for theatre and the arts?  How was he introduced to the stage?
A: Luke has always loved make believe and from the time he could dress himself, he has had a box full of costumes. When he was very small, he wore costumes more than he wore actual clothes!  He went to Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary which exposed him to many art forms and enabled him to perform but he was introduced to the stage by his older brother, Timothy. Luke grew up watching his big brother perform with Charleston Stage and he just naturally assumed as soon as he was old enough, he would do the same!

Q: What have been some of your favorite roles you’ve seen Luke perform on stage and why?
A: I’ve loved all of Luke’s roles, from Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol to Ralphie in A Christmas Story, but my absolute favorite was Michael Darling in Peter Pan. It was Luke’s first big role and it was amazing to watch him discover being a part of a mainstage show and how much he loved it. He says that was his favorite role too because he got to fly! He grew up a lot during that show simply because Charleston Stage sets the bar high for their kids and they always seem to meet the challenge.

I will never forget one of the performances of Peter Pan, a group of college students from, I think Canada was in the audience and they really loved the show. When the show was over, they stayed after to meet the actors and they were so excited about what they had just seen. All of the actors went outside the theatre and the students walked across the street and stood in front of the Huguenot church and sang the most beautiful song for the cast. It was such a special moment in time that I got to experience with Luke and afterwards, Luke said, ‘they must have really liked the show mom’. He was only 8 at the time but he knew that he had just witnessed something magical and that’s what live theatre is; a magical moment in time that you experience once.

Q: What do you look forward to each night when watching Luke perform?
A: I really just love seeing him on stage, doing what he loves. I love that he has a passion that he takes so seriously and gets so much enjoyment from it. He tells anyone that asks him what he likes to do, ‘I am an actor with Charleston Stage’.

Q: Please share your thoughts on Luke’s experience with working with Charleston Stage.  What do you think are the lessons Luke is learning from his experience that you feel he will take with him into adulthood?
A: There are so many lessons Luke is learning from his experience. I believe the main one is responsibility and commitment. He knows that he is part of something much bigger than him and he is vital to its success no matter what part he is playing. Because of that, he knows that he has to be on time to rehearsal, get his schoolwork done and just generally manage his time wisely. Rehearsing for a show is a huge commitment that sometimes requires him to miss fun events and that has helped him realize that sometimes you have to miss things when you have responsibilities but the end result is worth it.

Also, there is a level of expectation at Charleston Stage for their students and he does all he can to meet the expectations and as a result, he has a strong work ethic in other areas of his life. Another lesson he has learned is to just keep going if something goes wrong. With live theater, sometimes there are mistakes with props, costumes, lines, etc. He has learned to just make it work. He has learned teamwork in the most vital sense. He knows that he needs to do his part and he needs to help his fellow actors in any way he can so that the show can be successful.

Charleston Stage has been a vital part of my Luke’s life and he has learned valuable lessons that he can use his entire life but he also now has a love for live theatre that will stay with him.

 

Luke Shaw as the Paperboy in a dress rehearsal for "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure".

Featured Center: Luke Shaw as Michael Darling in Charleston Stage's "The Original Peter Pan".

Featured Right: Luke Shaw as Raphie in Charleston Stage's "A Christmas Story".

October 8, 2013

Meet Guest Costume Designer Janine Marie McCabe

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 2:10 pm

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I grew up in New Jersey around the Seaside Heights area. No one in my family was involved in theatre but my mom put me in dance classes when I was really young and I continued dancing into my college years. I also remember having a little kid sewing machine when I was growing up. My high school had a sewing class that I was able to take a few times as well and we made full garments and had fashion shows with what we made. I loved sewing, I loved dance and I loved drawing (though I was bad at it at the time), but I never put all these things together as something I could pursue in my life. I actually started college as an engineering major and it wasn’t until my sophomore year when I took an Introduction to Theatre class that I learned there were people who made a career out of being a Costume Designer for theatre.

Q: Where did you study theatre and design?
A: . I received my BA from the College of Charleston and then I went on to study costume design at the University of Virginia where I received my MFA. I also did an internship in NYC with tony-award winning costume designer Martin Pakledinaz while I was in school at UVa.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite productions you’ve worked on and the designs that you created for those productions?
A: After graduate school I moved to NYC and worked in theatre there for about 5 years. As an assistant costume designer to Martin Pakledinaz I was able to work on many Broadway productions. He also designed for Opera and Dance and so I was fortunate to gain a variety of experiences with different theatres and companies across the country. During my time in NYC I designed for smaller theatre companies there and Fringe NYC as well. The last few years I have been designing for Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina where I am able to connect with NY directors, actors and choreographers on a variety of productions, mostly musicals. My favorite productions so far would have to be Zelda (originally called Waiting for the Moon) and For the Glory. For Zelda, I have been involved with this musical since its first full production in 2005 and it has been exciting to be part of bringing a new work to life. Zelda is about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald so the research is fun, interesting and heart breaking and the show brings you from 1918 to 1948 so it has many wonderful challenges!

Q: How did you prepare for costume designing Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure? Were there any challenges or things you faced in creating those designs or anything that you’re most excited about for audiences to see?
A: For this production I spent a lot of time looking at research and original drawings and stories. I also spent some time watching the BBC series. I always stay away from other productions of what I am designing so that I don’t get stuck in their communication of the story but with the contemporary series version I felt it gave a lot of insight into the energy and pace that Julian was hoping to create with this production and didn’t allow me to get stuck in their clothing choices. One of the challenges was wanting to have a period feel to the production that was not typical to what the audience would expect from the late 19th century. The color and details became important elements in giving this production a unique look while trying to find the best way to communicate each of these interesting characters.

Q: Who or what typically inspires your work? Are there any costume designers who inspire you?
A: Research and collaboration inspire every step of my work as a costume designer. Talking through ideas with the director, other design and production team members as well as with the actors is so exciting. I love the journey of discovery in how the research will lead to the designs, how something a lighting or set designer says might affect the design of a costume piece, and the whole process of sharing research with each other throughout the process feeds each aspect of the production.

The designer that has inspired me the most would be Martin Pakledinaz. He is not the only designer I have worked with but he is the one I know the best. I learned so much from his dedication and commitment to the process and to finding the best way to communicate ideas. His attention to the research and detail will always inspire my work.

Q: Please share with us your thoughts on Guest Designing for Charleston Stage.
A: I am thrilled to be developing this new relationship with Charleston Stage. It is always challenging for both a designer and a shop to learn how the other likes to work but I really appreciate the attention that everyone here is paying to the designs and to developing the story in the best way possible.

 

 

 

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