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Spotlight on Katie Gentic, performing Kevin in Gillian

By • Nov 2nd, 2007 • Category: Backstage, Interviews, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

Listen to Mike interview Katie Gentic, about her role of Kevin in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday [MP3 8:42 4MB].

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio and I am backstage at a rehearsal of Port City Playhouse‘s production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. I am talking with Katie Gentic, who plays the role of Kevin. Thanks for talking with me.

Katie: No problem. My pleasure.

Mike: How does Kevin fit into the title character of Gillian? How is she affiliated with her?

Katie: First of all she knows David better than she ever knew Gillian because she took David’s English courses in college and actually had something of a friendship with him. My interpretation is she knew Gillian, probably not too well, but she probably had met her on a couple of occasions. So she’s not as familiar with her as the family members are obviously. She is more of an observer of the family dynamic that is taking place right now. She doesn’t see a lot of the the heated arguments that arise among the family members. She is kind of having that third party perspective of what is going on, I think.

She kind of helps David and Rachel in particular since she relates to them, step outside of themselves, step outside of the family and become more self aware of their situation and to think outside the box so to speak to maybe move forward instead of getting stuck in this self absorption that he has been in for the last two years. All these personalities clashing and trying to get what they want rather than stepping outside and looking at how the entire family can benefit.

Mike: Has it been hard trying to get into the mindset of this person?

Katie: Actually I find her to be very natural. It’s more of a natural part for me than others I’ve played. I’m used to doing comedies and kind of over the top characters and Kevin is very, very grounded. It’s kind of a nice change for me just to be very real and it’s really what she is. She’s very real and very direct. She knows what she wants so it’s been a different experience; challenging in a different way.

Mike: So what type of challenges have been present? Is Kevin like you or is she unlike you?

Katie: I find that she and I have similar experiences. Not exactly the same, I don’t have a child, but relationship experiences definitely have been similar so that is something that I have been able to tap into going into this part. That part has come rather naturally. The character history has been a little more challenging. That’s something that we’ve done a lot of discussion on and trying to delve more into her background and see how she came to where she is today has been where the challenge lies.

Mike: We’ve seen you in several shows that have all been comedies or funny musicals. Do you prefer musicals and comedies over dramas? I think this is the first drama drama we’ve seen you in.

Katie: This is the first drama I’ve been in since college actually so it’s a change and I like it in a different way. Like I said it comes more naturally. I enjoy the comedies very much and I find them to be most challenging because of the timing. It’s all in the timing as they say. And making sure there is a lot more focus I find that goes into comedic characters. You really can’t second guess your choices when you’re playing a funny part on stage. If you do, the audience reads that and they get uncomfortable. With this, like I said it’s very natural so it’s more a straight forward tapping into personal experiences and drawing on those.

Whereas with comedic characters, it’s hard to find experiences that necessarily match the experiences and the nuances of the funnier parts that I’ve played, but I do. I enjoy both. Musicals are always a challenge; working with the music and trying to do comedy and music at the same time can be a lot to focus on at one time.

Katie: This is the first drama I’ve been in since college actually so it’s a change and I like it in a different way. Like I said it comes more naturally. I enjoy the comedies very much and I find them to be most challenging because of the timing. It’s all in the timing as they say. And making sure there is a lot more focus I find that goes into comedic characters. You really can’t second guess your choices when you’re playing a funny part on stage. If you do, the audience reads that and they get uncomfortable. With this, like I said it’s very natural so it’s more a straight forward tapping into personal experiences and drawing on those.

Whereas with comedic characters, it’s hard to find experiences that necessarily match the experiences and the nuances of the funnier parts that I’ve played, but I do. I enjoy both. Musicals are always a challenge; working with the music and trying to do comedy and music at the same time can be a lot to focus on at one time.

Mike: A few weeks ago there was a character workshop with the director. All of the people in the show talked about their characters and their motives and things like that. Have you done anything like that before?

Katie: A little bit. When I did Anton in Show Business here at Port City we did some discussions of that. It was a different experience. It was almost like being put on the spot a little more here as the previous time I did that with Anton was more talking about the character where as this was more in character so it was like improv. Thinking on the spot. We didn’t know what questions we were going to be thrown at us we kind of had to make something up and some of the characters were asked the same questions had different answers so that was something we all needed to be in agreement on. How long have these people known each other and such. So it definitely was a new experience doing that and I found it very beneficial actually to give that much thought to the character’s history and their motives and what they think about the other characters and their feeling are with the scenes that they’re in. It was definitely a new and beneficial experience for the part.

Mike: Switching the subject, I don’t think I’ve asked anybody else this in the show: Have you seen the movie version of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday?

Katie: I have not seen the movie version, but I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard it’s very different from the play. Part of the reason I have not watched it is a lot of times when you already have a certain way of presenting a character in mind from previous performances you’ve seen either whether on screen or on stage, that can limit you to developing a character. For that reason I haven’t been too eager to see it, it would be good to see it at this point now that I have kind of figured out how I want Kevin to be (her quirks and what have you) it would be interesting to go back and see how the actress playing her in the movie portrayed the part.

Mike: Something I have asked most of the other people is, how do you learn your lines? Most everybody has a different style.

Katie: Honestly, whenever I sit down to learn lines it’s usually pretty well into the run of the rehearsal and by then I realize that I already know them. I just didn’t quite realize I did because when you have the book in hand it’s like a crutch. You don’t want to let it go, but finally you do and you realize that you don’t need it after all. Usually when I sit down to learn lines it’s more like a refresher almost because I’ve gone through them so many times.

It also depends on the script. Some scripts are easier to learn because the responses you have to what other characters are saying is very natural. This play is more along those lines. I had a harder time with Anton in Show Business because I had a lot of off the wall non sequitur monologues that really had nothing to do with what was going on. They were kind of stream of consciousness so those were kind of a little harder to grasp, but thus is Kevin being the way she is. One thought follows another and it makes sense.

Mike: In the show you have a relationship with David’s daughter Rachel. How is that in real life in getting to know Morgaine better?

Katie: I actually find in person when I’m with Morgaine I feel a lot younger than I am. I feel like I’m a cool kid again (laughs). Whereas Kevin is more motherly. She has a daughter of her own so I think she’s more protective of Rachel. It’s been a good experience to relate to teenagers. I’m kind of amazed at how mature both Morgaine and Megan are for their ages, because when I was that age I was much more timid and introverted, but they don’t seem to be fearful of adults at all where as I was. So it has been very cool to see that they are not afraid to speak their minds.

Mike: Is there anything else you want to share with us? What are your plans after this show?

Katie: I do have auditions coming up for a couple shows that I’m interested in so hopefully in the January time frame I will be somewhere performing. I also recently became a board member of Dominion Stage. Oh, shameless plug, their show A Beautiful Thing is currently running at Gunston Middle School over on Lang Street in Arlington. It is directed by Scott Olsen. That runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM. So go see it.

Mike: Ok, well thanks very much for talking with me today.

Katie: Thank you.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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