"The Inquisition" - Winter 2007 Looking Glass Forum
The Seagull Curan Repertory Company In this stage production I had the opportunity to play my favorite role to date: Irina Arkadina, a well-known actress of "a certain age" who thinks the world revolves around her, and although she loves her son, Constantine, is oblivious to his struggle to make something of himself outside of his mother's shadow. The director and cast were wonderful, and it was a joy bringing Irina to life. This production was set in the American South in more-or-less contemporary times. I dream I hold is that some day I will have the opportunity to Play Arkadina again, but as writtin, set in Russia during the late 1800's.
The Sucker One early weekend in May I took the LIRR to Baldwin, LI, for a short film shoot. It is a quirky little story - funny, dramatic and even touching at times. The tagline on the audition notice caught my attention: a dramedy involving feuding siblings and a chupacabra. I play Mrs. Westport, the "lovable but clueless" mother. You can check it out on Facebook at
30 Rock I did background (extra) work on this NBC series for two episodes, one airing in April 2011 and the second airin in June 2012. The first shoot took place outdoors on the 30 Rock Plaza, and it was blustery and cold. Series regulars Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, and Judah Friedlander were on set, but to my disappointment Alec Baldwin was nowhere to be seen. Thus a year later, when I saw there was an upcoming episode featuring Alec at a party, I submitted myself as an extra and was cast. Thankfully this episode was shot indoors, and all I had to contend with were my aching feet in mile-high heels. The shoot was particularly long and complicated since all the cast was there except Tracy Morgan, and there were many extras needed to fill up the banquet hall. After one scene had to be shot again for the umpteenth time, a good-natured but frustrated Alec Baldwin strode by me muttering, "It's not like we're filming Caligula here!"
The Convicts This thesis film by Brooklyn College student writer/director Madeleine Ranges was filmed in Park Slope in November 2010. It's a sweet coming-of-age story kind of story. I play a recently divorced mother, Lydia, who is dealing with a new high-powered job and a teenage daughter, Catherine, who deeply resents being moved from her suburban Upstate home to Brooklyn. I well remember when my own family had to make the move from Syracuse to Ithaca, NY. My daughter, Leah, was entering 8th grade at the time and was definitely NOT a happy camper, and thus it was very easy for me to relate to Lydia in this film.
Dreamland In the Summer of 2009 I was cast in an independent feature film called "Dreamland" produced by Rashomon Pictures and written and directed by the young and talented Justin Van Voorhis. The majority of the shoot took place in Newburgh, NY, during the summer and early fall. Two remaining scenes between me and my "son" were shot in July 2010. The story is set against the backdrop of the second Iraq War, and I play Angela, the mother of the protagonist, Jack. This film is currently being submitted to film festivals.
Eggs This short film by NYU student writer/director Joe Skinner filmed in the Fall of 2009. The set was an actual deli/restaurant in Western New Jersey. So we didn't interfere with the business, the film was shot throughout the entire night, a first for me. I am not a night person, generally, but I find that when you're doing exciting and interesting work, the adrenaline kicks in. Thank heaven for adrenaline!
The Rough - A Teen Drama Pilot Web Series I love working with students, especially film students. They are enthusiastic and creative, they aren't "jaded" by the Real World, and they tend to be quirky. And I dearly love quirky! I was contacted by a Hofstra student I worked with in 2009, Colin Miller, saying he was filming a teen drama web series and thought I'd be perfect for "the loopy mother". Well, how could I resist saying yes to playing a loopy mother, especially one who is a Professional Psychic?
Comic Potential Hudson Theatre Ensemble This was my first opportunity to work with a local theater company since moving to Hoboken. This theatre company produces several children's musicals throughout the year, and every Spring it mounts an adult production. I had seen some of their plays in the past and was impressed with the quality, so on my Wish List was to be cast in one of their plays. In Comic Potential I had several small roles, but I had a Big amount of fun working with the talented director, Laurie Brongo, and her seasoned cast. I'm hoping down the road I can be in another one of these productions.
Lipstick Jungle NBC TV - Episode 13 I decided to try some "background work" as it is called. I had never worked on the set of a network TV show, so I thought this would be both interesting and educational. My other motivation was that I knew actor Kim Raver's sister from my days in Ithaca, and I was just kind of curious to see how much alike they were....or weren't. The scene was a big engagement party for the characters Victory (Lindsay Price) and Joe (Andrew McCarthy). It was filmed at the Unkranian House on East 79th, an enormous mansion. I was one of the many party guests, but I was lucky enough to be placed smack in front of Victory and Joe during the toast, so you can spot me easily. I was wearing a black sleeveless v-necked velvet dress. I am also in another scene in the background, seated at a table. See my picture page for some stills pulled from the show.
Win Mick Jones' Guitar In the fall of 2008 I filmed an AARP promotional video for the web. AARP ran an Air Guitar contest, and the prize was an autographed Mick Jones guitar which was presented onstage at a New Year's Eve Foreigner concert in Hawaii. The video featured Bjorn Turoque (say "born-to-rock".... get it?), an air guitar champion. Bjorn led an Air Guitar "Air-Obics" class of 7 men and women of all shapes and sizes...... one of whom was ME! Yes, I had an opportunity to learn air guitar - what a hoot!!!
Flora Dora Girls Weekly Sewing Circle A Staged Reading Hoboken Museum and Cultural Center Another first for me - a staged reading. I learned that local Hoboken playwright, Lous LaRusso II (Lampost Reunion) had written a play literallly in his deathbed. His family wanted to mount a staged reading so they could explore the possibility of someday producing it for the stage. I was cast as Tootsie, a dim but sweet-hearted stripper, long retired. The cast was delightful, and I could not have asked for better co-directors. Sadly, a little more than a year later, young and vivacious co-director Taylor Keith passed away of breast cancer, but she will forever live in my memory and in my heart.
Viralcom This is a new web series from Warner Brothers Studio 2.0. New webisodes appear each Wednesday and run approximately 6-8 minutes each. I am in webisodes 7 and 8. To view the webisodes visit the website of the creators/directors/leads Joey and David at http://www.joeyanddavid.com/ and click on the link for Viralcom. This was a fun project!
The Rabbits The Third Annual Impact Theater Winter One Act Festival February 21 - 24, 2008 Early on I was very nervous and insecure about auditioning. I remember trekking all the way out to Brooklyn (a fair haul from Hoboken, I can assure you!) and entering this tiny theatre to find it absolutely packed to the gills with people auditoning for the many plays in this Festival. I felt claustrophobic and panicked and thought, "what am I doing here????" and every muscle, every instinct told me to just turn around and leave. But then I thought, "Well, I took all this time to get here, it's good experience to audition at the very least, and bottom line..... what do I have to lose? Answer - not a darn thing". So I stayed and I auditioned, I got a call back, and I was cast in this two-person play. Lesson learned.
Spitting Distance The Looking Glass2007 Spring Writers/Directors Forum True story. I had taken several evening acting classes at NYU as well as a 10-week scene study with The 4th Wall Actors Workshop, and I was currently finishing up a stand-up comedy class at Caroline's On Broadway and preparing for a Friends & Family Show in 3 days. I found myself at a Wine Tasting/Networking Event in midtown and exchanging small talk with a complete stranger. He asked me what I did. I replied that I was working in insurance but that I wanted to get into acting. I told him about my classes and workshops and I said, "My next step is to get into an Off-Off Broadway play". And I kid you not, at that very moment my cell phone rang. Not many people had my number back in the day, so I was taken aback. I excused myself and took the call. It was my acting friend, Hank Offinger, who was in a bit of a panic. He said he'd been cast in a One-Act Festival at The Looking Glass Theatre, and the director had just found out that a cast member had dropped out. The director asked if anyone knew someone who could memorize lines quickly and fill in, and Hank thought of me. He said it was a nice, juicy part, but the only negative was that the play went up in one week. ONE WEEK. My mind raced - I had my stand-up show to do in 3 days and was pretty nervous about that..... but had I just not said out loud that I wanted to do something Off-Off Broadway? And voila!?!?! So I blurted, "sure, I'll do it". I got the address of the rehearsal, called goodbye to my confused husband who was left to fend for himself, raced down the stairs, grabbed a cab, and arrived at the rehearsal 20 minutes later. And yes, I did the stand-up comedy show at Carolines and had a great time, and yes I learned my lines for the one-act play, and it went off without a hitch. Lesson learned with this one? Fear is a great motivator for learning lines quickly! And I learned that I CAN learn lines quickly and jump in when necessary. This experience was one of the best confidence-builders ever.
The Inquisition The Looking Glass Winter Writers/Directors Forum December 6-9, 2007 History repeated itself with this one. Once again my frend, Hank, had auditioned for and been cast in this twice-annual festival. And once again a female cast member bailed, and once again Hank called me to see if I was interested in stepping in. This time they were fairly early into the rehearsal process, so the director wasn't desperate. She had me read for the part of the seriously evil mother, and I was cast.
Carolines on Broadway - June 3 and 23, 2007 For reasons that excape me and for longer than I can remember, I've had the urge to do stand-up comedy. The idea both excited and terrified me, and I guess I never thought I'd act upon it. I remember sitting at a party sharing this crazy idea with a friend, when to my surprise he challenged me to "just do it". Well, uhhhhhhhhh..... and he had me. Within a day he'd found a class at Caroline's and sent me the link, and to up the ante, he said he'd take the class with me. So I signed up. I can say without reservation it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I'd spend all day with a pad of paper and pen with me, and if I said anything that elicited even a chuckle, I wrote it down. Every moment, even while brushing my teeth, I was "writing" material in my head. Somehow, though, when I went to present my routine in class, all my jokes fell flat. Flatter than flat. I could see the look of despair in the teacher's eyes, and I imagined my classmates looked at me with pity. At the end of the 8-week class we had the opportunity to present a 6-minute routine at an optional Friends & Family Show at Carolines. The week before the show, I just broke down, weeping and wailing on the sofa as my husband looked on sympathetically. I felt like such a failure, but I didn't want to give up. I hate being a Quitter. Doug pointed out that my goal had been to try stand-up, to take the class and give it a shot, and that I had done. Mission accomplished. I did not have to do the show. I took that in, and I made my decision. I would finish the classes, but I would not do the show. I slept soundly that night, but when I woke up I found myself "writing" a routine in my head. As I brushed my teeth and put on my makeup, the words just came pouring out. So I got my notepad and bulleted everything. As I drove to my office I heard the routine in my head, and by the time I pulled into the parking lot I knew I was going to do the show. That evening was the last class before the show, and the instructor was timing us. We had 6 minutes, and not a second more. I started in telling my stories - it was more a series of stories than jokes - but they were based on my life and they just tickled me to tell them. I didn't care if my fellow students thought I was funny or not because I was just enjoying myself. As I wound up I saw the instructor with her stopwatch, and I ended at 6 minutes on the dot. Silence in the room. Then the instructor just looked at me and commented that she didn't know what I'd just done but to do it again that Saturday at the show. And I did, and I had the best time ever. I was not the funniest person on that stage I am sure, but I am also sure that no one had more fun than me. My lesson from this experience? Stand-up comedy is not something I want to pursue, but boy do I ever have respect for the men and women who do this as a career. I learned to never say never. And I also know that if I could do that, I can do anything. Corny? Maybe. But it's true.
Please Turn OFF Your Cell Phone and Hold On! The 4th Wall Actors Workshop October 2006 and 2007 For two years in a row I signed up for these acting workshops taught by the extraordinary Laurence Gewirtz. Over the course of 10 weeks I worked with 10-12 other students on several scenes which were presented at The Producer's Club. These were my first on-stage performances in NYC, and they excited and delighted me and inspired me to continue acting. I will forever be grateful to Laurence.
Copyright 2013 Kathi Carlson. All rights reserved.