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

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.

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