Entries tagged with “Kilian Thomas G.”.


This summer, PCSC is starting a new means of gathering the inside scoop of our actors in their processes. In addition to the normal blog entries you read on here, there will also be a series of questions posed to our actors. Enjoy.

This week: Kilian Thomas G. (Dumaine / Sir Nathaniel) and Joseph Valente (Navarre / Forestor) are in the hot seat for Love’s Labour’s Lost.

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How do you typically go about preparing a Shakespearean character?

Kilian – Reading, reading, reading, and reading. I read the script, then re-read, then reflect on what I’ve read. The text usually provides a foundation for character. I go through the text and divide my lines into thought measures and try to find the why behind the lines. I want to know why my character wants to say what he says, and what he is trying to achieve by choosing the words that he does. The thought measures are then broken up into sub parts. These sub sections are each given a specific way of delivery that, I think, best coincides with the motivation for the line.

It is also important to know who the character was before the events in the show. I make up back stories for my character and infer about the relationship my character has or has had with other characters, and who he has become as a result.”

Joseph – “I usually first try to research the character’s surroundings and status. This helps me get an accurate vision of what that character’s background is and where they are coming from. I then break down the text into objectives, finding why Shakespeare included the role, and what the character is doing in the scene. Sometimes I paraphrase the lines into my own words in order to full understand them.I then try to find objectives and motives for what my character does. Finally I’ll come up with mannerisms, and physicalizations that help me paint a clear picture of who that character is. I try to always experiment with everything, and always be open to new ideas and/or inspiration. In actor terms: I play.”

What, thus far, in rehearsal has been helpful?

Kilian – “Having people able to give an outside eye to the choices that I’m making, and suggestions of where to do more, or less depending on the case. Feedback is important, since we are hoping that our story is well-received by the audiences, and it is impossible to get that perspective while on stage.”

Joseph – “Rehearsals have been helpful in experimentation. I love how we start each scene by improvising blocking. This helps me attempt to stay in the moment and be open to any inspirations. The early work on defining prose and verse was helpful review, as motivations and objectives can often be found in how the lines are structured.”

What do you like to do for fun outside of theatre?

Kilian – “I love to play tennis. Every Wednesday, across from my house, the Cherry Park Tennis Club meets up for refreshments and tennis while trying to raise money to refurbish the Cherry Park Pool for children. I’ve also found myself increasingly more interested in tailoring. I’ll work on some of my own clothes, as experiments if you will.”

Joseph – “I love movies, and go to the theater about once or twice a month. I also enjoy sporting events such as pro football, basketball, and baseball. Favorite teams include the New York Giants, and Detroit Tigers.”

What is your day job? What do you want to BE your day job?

Kilian – “I am an apprentice tailor. It’s rewarding, although I’m just starting out. I am working on a degree in French so, someday, I would like to use my language skills for work. Until then, ripping up seams is good enough for me.”

Joseph – “I’m in the process of becoming a certified teacher for the state of Michigan, and I work part-time at Sears in the electronics department. My dream is to make acting my full time job.”

What do you plan to do after this show?

Kilian – “I will be involved in Pigeon Creek’s next show, Antony and Cleopatra. I plan on continuing with theatre as long as I live. I can’t imagine a day when I will find it boring or unsatisfying. I will also be involved in a movie being produced by a Grand Valley alum. I have found where my interest lie, and plan on following them to my bitter end.”

Joseph – “I’m currently trying to coordinate a move to Los Angeles to pursue a film and television career, so with any luck I will be out there after the summer.”

Kilian Thomas G. (Paris) on the Original practices

As an actor, what I really want to achieve is the ability to say that I’ve told a good story. Stories are our pasts relived for us, parables manifested, and lessons to be learned. In ancient times, storytelling kept the records of history and keeps local culture alive. Each civilization had it’s own stories and ways of telling them. I could just volunteer to read story books at the library, but the thrill of being in front of an audience and the prospect of helping them enter into an imagined world is far more appealing. Pigeon Creek has given me the opportunity to do this, and has challenged me by doing it in a way more concurrent with traditional Shakespearean practices.

I have mostly worked with proscenium-style theatres, so when I was introduced to thrust staging, certain aspects didn’t quite jibe with what I had learned in the past. Fundamentals of Original Practices (i.e. foot placement, diagonals, and audience interaction) were mostly a new frontier for me. However, as the rehearsal processes progressed, my comfort level with the space grew steadily. The space in a thrust stage is always dynamic, filled with constant movement or powerful three-sided pictures, a right-in-your-face sense of theatre. Being that close to an audience means that one truly needs to be able make the acting shine from every side of their body. Front side, left profile, right profile and back side. How interesting is it to look at the cape of a man just standing there? Instead, what working with the company taught me was how to find focus, and power with stage placement and eye contact.

There are many more aspects of the rehearsal process that have helped me grow as an actor (and specifically with Shakespeare’s text) such as: learning better techniques for dealing with the lofty language, better combat experience, the difficulties adherent in working with a traveling show, teaching myself valuable lessons about acting and time management, and finding the places in those areas where I can still improve. As story tellers we always want our stories to be told to the best of their ability, and the best of their ability is the best of our ability. I also believe we should always be trying to raise the bar for ourselves, and strive for excellence. I hope you come see the show and that you enjoy our world of Verona. Let us tell you a story.