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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Spotlight on Caroline Blackwell

By • Mar 26th, 2009 • Category: Interviews
Rehearsal for Murder
Providence Players
James Lee Community Center, Falls Church, VA
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Playing through April 4th

Listen to the interview with Caroline Blackell. [MP3 9:57 9.1MB]

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBiz Radio and I am talking with Caroline Blackwell who plays Karen Daniels in the Providence Players production of Rehearsal For Murder. Thanks very much for talking with me.

Caroline: No problem.

Mike: To tell me about Karen Daniels. Who is she?

Caroline: Karen Daniels is probably in terms of most of the characters in the play, you see her go through several different personalities which, I guess given her character as an actress does in a way make sense. She is putting on a part the way everyone else is, but you see her evolve quite a bit. From the beginning she is just an understudy to when she comes back and is truly under the interrogation light for the murder so I would say that she is probably more like who you see in the beginning. She obviously wants to make it in the business. I would not call her ruthless. I don’t think she would do anything to make it in the business ,but she is clearly ok playing different parts and doing so convincingly.

Mike: So, do you like Karen Daniels?

Caroline: I do like Karen Daniels and I like who she really is which is someone who cares about Alex. She cares about other people. It’s difficult in this scenario for that character to come across because she is playing the part of the sexy leading actress who would do anything wether it be ruthless or murderous in order to get a part or get ahead. The real karen is one who talented, but not willing to do anything to make it in the industry.

I don’t believe she is that version that we see in most of the play. I think she’s much more like a more confident version of who you see in the beginning when she is just an understudy and trying to break into the industry. She is more confident as she is getting more roles. She is more experienced, but she hasn’t become someone who is that backstabbing and that unemotional when it comes to her friends and their problems.

Mike: Is it hard to play a character that goes through such a big change inside the play?

Caroline Blackwell as Karen DanielsCaroline: It has probably been one of my most challenging roles so far. Usually I can get into my character and be that person for the entire production. So having to switch over from very naive Karen to angry and screaming, it is difficult , it’s also a lot of fun. I guess that’s what makes for a part that an actor really enjoys. More challenging. The different sides of you that you can draw from. The different emotions that you might feel at different times in your life.

If you follow the making things real for yourself so that what you portray on stage becomes that character and that’s the way that I go about trying to get into that mode is really feeling real feelings so that it looks authentic. So in that way it’s been really fun. But there is one scene where I have to play within virtually within two or three lines I have to go from the ingenue to very defensive and angry to the Karen that you see throughout most of the play. So that is probably the most difficult scene that I have the biggest problems with each time we go through it so it’s always different.

That’s one thing that is nice about this. Every time I do it, it’s a little bit different and we are able to tweak my character here and there even on individual lines. I’ve never been in a play like that before where even individual lines can be delivered in different and more effective ways. I think that’s probably a sign of a good director in that he gave us a lot of freedom in the beginning, but now he really wants to hone in on character development and is giving us lots of options. I like his directing style very much.

Mike: The other people in the play with you that you have to interact with, there are some big group scenes and some individual scenes. Has that been challenging?

Caroline: Everyone who I’m working with, whether it individually or as the larger group of suspects, everyone has been great. Everyone has been extremely professional and I know that we are at varying degrees of experience. I know there are some people in the play who have been on Broadway in New York City and have very long and impressive resumes. And then there are people in the play who this might be their second or third production that thy have been involved in and between that dynamic I haven’t seen anyone even someone not as experienced working less hard or having less of an understanding of his or her character. We are of such different levels, but when we are all together on stage it does not feel like that at all. It doesn’t feel like one person is stronger than another.

We’re all able to feed off of each other. In that way I think it’s a great cast dynamic. I have been so impressed with everyone and also we have become friends. That always makes it easier. If you’re more comfortable with someone then allowing other characters to come through is much easier. If you are uncomfortable in any way, or do not understand the way someone is creating their character then often times you can see that when, as an audience member you would be able to recognize that. But being able to connect with these people on every level has been fantastic for me.

Mike: Is there a part in some show that you would just love to do that has been your dream role?

Caroline: There are so many. Just because I’m from the south I feel like I am supposed to play Shelby in Steel Magnolias.

Mike: Why did I know you were going to say Steel Magnolias? I don’t know. I said to myself, “She’s going to say Steel Magnolias.”

Caroline: But that would almost be too easy. It would be so close to me. Not that I’m diabetic and not that i’ve been through the same scenario. But it would be so close to me that it would not be challenging. I just think it would be fun, probably something darker.

I don’t know that I have ever seen this on stage, but I would love to play Holly Go Lightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the same Audrey Hepburn vein I would love to play Eliza Doolittle; except for probably in Pygmalion because I can’t sing. So Pygmalion and not My Fair Lady.

Wow, there are so many. If I had to say one line of music it would probably embarrass me. A musical and carrying that kind of thing. Yes, it’s just a whole different animal. I’m doubly impressed with people who can both sing and dance and and act all within one production. I don’t understand people who are able do that. I know they exist, but I am not of that calibur.

Mike: What other parts have you done in the past?

Caroline: I played Sonny Freitag in The Last Night of Ballyhoo in a little theater in Garland, Texas which is right outside of Dallas. That was a lot of fun. That’s probably my most favorite part that I’ve ever been able to play. Then, not stage related, I was in a vampire movie (The Bloodletting) and was able to die on film and that was really fun. That was during my time in Hollywood. I spent a little bit of time in LA and was able to have that one leading role in a movie. I do die. I’m not the main character who makes it to the end, but I was one of the main characters gets killed off about half way through.

Mike: Very good. I have never understood vampires. I just don’t get them.

Caroline: I have never really understood the fascination with something that clearly does not exist. I mean there is so much research and so much and so much lore that goes along with vampires. To have that much time and energy devoted to and background and where they came from and where they originated and how to be one. That to me is very strange. Although I was in a vampire movie I don’t claim to understand how to gain any understanding of vampires by being in a vampire movie.

Mike: Ok, well the show opens in just a few nights. I hope it of course goes well.

Caroline: I am very excited. I think things will go quite well. I feel like we have gotten to a point where everyone is so ready we are giving performances that should be for an audience. I think we are ready.

Mike: We have two more rehearsals and then the real thing.

Caroline: Yep, it’s exciting.

Mike: Yes. Well, I do thank you for talking with me. I do appreciate it.

Caroline: No problem. Thanks so much, Mike.

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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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