K’nique, a second-year Resident Actor, is performing the character of “Dennis,” who plays “Butler Perkins” in the play-within-a-play of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Hear more about his process in “Play” and being an actor with Charleston Stage!
You are returning for your second year as a Resident Actor for Charleston Stage! What are your favorite memories from last year? What are you looking forward to this year?
My favorite memory from last year was my closing performance as Lola in Kinky Boots, a role I got to share with Jerquintez, a former Resident Actor. It was a magical show because “Lola” was a dream role of mine and to see that dream come true meant so much to me! What made the closing night so special was when Cedar, my roommate and another second-year RA this season, presented me with flowers onstage as the whole cast crowded around me. A video that was taken of the audience and cast members screaming–this celebration will always be a memory I cherish!
This year I am looking forward to new opportunities to grow as a person and actor. In this season my roles are completely different from last year’s shows, and I am excited to stretch myself as a theatre artist and act with the new Resident Actors who have joined us.
How have you been preparing to play the role of Dennis, who plays the character of Perkins in the show-within-a-show that takes place in “The Play That Goes Wrong?”
This show is a hard show to prepare for because it’s very technically driven. I have had fun exploring Dennis as a person and his relationship with the other characters. We have had to learn the lines and blocking for this show in only 2 weeks so we can be free of the burden of a script in our hands and better able to focus on fight choreography and technicality. My main goal thus far has been to get off book as fast as possible, so I can spend more time on character development. I have watched and researched different butlers in shows to learn their mannerism and their physicality traits, and I will say that Dennis is not your typical butler!
This show is very technically and physically challenging–you and your fellow actors have to coordinate so many tricks, falls and mishaps. What has been the most difficult aspect of rehearsals for you? What has come more naturally?
The most difficult thing in our rehearsal process has been the pre-set rehearsals; pantomiming tricks until we could get in the theatre and try out the trick set for size. We didn’t really know the timing of how things would work until we got on stage to practice, which is why we were given two weeks to work out stunt choreography onstage before the performance. Something that has come naturally is the support from my fellow actors and director, Marybeth Clark, have given. We are all in this process together, so we feed off of each other to make this show all that we want it to be!
What are your standard pre-show routines as you get ready to perform?
My pre-show standard varies depending on if it’s a musical or a play. In a straight play like “The Play That Goes Wrong,” I’ll start with a workout in the morning to wake my body up and stretch the muscles I need particularly for such a physical show as this one. I always include a warm-up for breath support, projection and articulation. Those things are very important to me to be able to stay dropped into a show for 2+ hours. I have to have a chai tea latte before the show–not sure why, but it’s a must! Then I review the script to make sure I have the show in my body, mind and soul. Before entering the stage I jump, wiggle and dance to get out my nerves, let loose and have fun!
What is your favorite show of all time?
That’s a tough question–I have a long list of favorites. My favorite shows of all time are Kinky Boots, Violet and Next to Normal. Violet and Next to Normal are shows I hope to be in one day!
K’nique is originally from Columbia, South Carolina but moved to Brevard, North Carolina to earn a B.A. in Music and Theatre. He is so excited to be returning to the company for a second year. His recent credits include: Kinky Boots (Lola), The Last Five Years (Jamie), Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II), Into The Woods (Jack), A Streetcar Named Desire (Stanley) and more. He is very thankful for his friends and family who have supported him throughout the years. K’nique is so excited to change lives through creating art at Charleston Stage! Stay tuned on Instagram @nique_tg3