Entries tagged with “Heather Folkvord”.


Heather Hartnett (Cleopatra) on her character process.

My feelings of the characters I play often change from rehearsal to performance. I think of my character as a “jacket” or “coat” that I put on and take off. In the beginning, it is just a pencil sketch. It is very simple. It is a general shape I create with text analysis. Second, I add color to the sketch and choose the fabric for my “coat”. This step often takes a little longer because the type of fabric, color, weight, and feel makes a huge difference to my character’s emotions, moods, first impressions, etc. Third, I “stitch” my character-coat together by weaving thoughts, emotion, and voice intonation.

During this time, my “coat” doesn’t always fit. It may be tight in some places or I don’t like where I have placed a pocket or seam. I have to make adjustments. Sometimes, I borrow something from another coat I’ve worn. I learn from past experience.

Next, I add embellishments to my coat: a brooch or trim, maybe some special stitching. This is the character’s back story, core beliefs and main motivations. I try it on and by now, it feels pretty good and fits fairly comfortably. Then, I perform in this coat I have created in the last 5-6 weeks. Under the lights, with the other characters and the eye of audience scrutiny, it fairs well.

But during a scene, all of a sudden, my coat sleeve may feel tight or I find can’t breathe with the buttons buttoned, so back to my sewing room I go for more adjustments and additions (or subtractions.) This process continues through the entire performance period. The coat I started with on opening night is not quite the same on closing night.

In the end, I am always filled with a bittersweet feeling as I remove my coat on closing night. But, as I hang it in the closet with all of my other coats, I know that someday I just might need some of that pretty Cleopatra gold to complete my next coat.

I hope you all will come and see Antony and Cleopatra. It is a wonderful play. It has transcended the ages. I find it hard not to think of all the generations of actors and audiences that have explored the world of Antony and Cleopatra and all who have yet to start their journey. See you in Egypt!

Heather Folkvord as Prince Hal

Heather here playing Prince Hal in the all-female cast of Henry IV Part One. Prince Hal is a complex character and a real pain-in-the-a#* for his father, King Henry IV. First of all, he hangs out in seedy Eastcheap. A place where he carouses with his drinking buddies, plans a highway robbery, and takes every opportunity to thumb his nose at authority. Why does he do this? That’s a question I have asked myself more than once.

It turns out, though, there is a reason in a weird Machavellian way. Hal surprises the audience by letting them in on a little secret: his bad behavior is just a disguise. The truth is that he’s been pretending to be a degenerate in order to stage a dramatic “reformation” that will amaze everyone and make him a better king.

Acting like a rebellious teenager and breaking the law is a good thing for the country?

Um, okay. But it really does work. By the play’s end, Hal redeems himself on the battlefield by saving his father from Douglas. He even kills Hotspur, who’s been running around telling everyone that Hal’s a loser and a pansy. As a war hero, Hal shrugs off his bad boy reputation, steals Hotspur’s honor, and demonstrates his ability to govern. Hooray!! A piece of cake for an actor to play. Ha!

But, staging a “reformation” isn’t the only way Hal prepares for his future. Hal’s time in Eastcheap is all part of his “dress rehearsal” for kingship. He prepares for his future is by hanging out with the commoners in Eastcheap: finding out how the “other half” live, how their society works, and how he can relate to them. Then there’s good ole Falstaff. To Hal, the old drunken knight is more than just a buddy. I think Hal sees him as a surrogate father. I can see the appeal of hanging out with Falstaff, who’s always down for a little fun and spends lots of quality time with Hal. Hal misses his daddy. (Emo? Maybe a little.) It’s possible that even some of the cruelty Hal shows toward Falstaff is a way for the prince to express his anger at his father without paying the consequences of being a total ass to the king.

I’m just getting started on this journey to throne. I hope you enjoyed some of my beginning thoughts on Hal and why he does the things he does. Feel free to send me your thoughts and I’ll see you all out there.

“To thine own self be true…” is one of my favorite lines in Shakespeare.  On the surface it is so simple, however when you dig deeper at the meaning of this simple phrase the complexities and levels begin to form. This is why I love to perform and study Shakespeare. His words may be constructed in way that is foreign to the modern ear, yet the meaning and emotion transcends time.

Hi, my name is Heather Folkvord and I am playing Gertrude in PCSC’s production of Hamlet! I have had such a great time during the rehearsal period and now performances of Hamlet.

My feelings of the character I play often change from rehearsal to performance. I think of my character as a “jacket” or “coat” that I put on and take off. In the beginning it is just a pencil sketch…very simple…a general shape (text analysis). Second I add color to the sketch and then choose fabric for my “coat”. This step often takes a little longer because type of fabric, color, weight, feel makes a huge difference to character (emotion, mood, first impressions). Third I “stitch” my character coat together weaving thoughts, emotion, voice intonation etc. During this time, my “coat” doesn’t always fit. It may be tight in some places or I don’t like where I place a pocket or seam and have to make adjustments. I borrow something from another coat I’ve worn. Next I add embellishments to my coat…a brooch or trim, maybe some special stitching (back story, core beliefs, main motivations). I try it on and it feels pretty good, fits fairly comfortably. Then I perform in this coat I have created in the last 5-6 weeks, and under the lights with the other characters and the eye of audience scrutiny it fairs well. But during a scene all of a sudden my coat sleeve feels tight or I can’t breathe with the buttons buttoned, so back to my sewing room for more adjustments and additions (or subtractions). This process continues through the entire performance period. So the coat I started with on opening night is not quite the same on closing night. I am always filled with a bittersweet feeling when I remove my character coat on closing night. But as I hang it in the closet with all of my other coats I know that someday I just might need that pretty Gertrude brooch to complete my next coat.

I hope you all will come and see Hamlet. It really is a wonderful play and for a tragedy it really is funny. It has transcended the ages and I find it hard not to think of all the generations of actors and audiences that have explored the world of Hamlet and all who have yet to start their journey. See you in Denmark!