Entries tagged with “Kyle Walker”.


Kyle Walker (Petruchio / Page) on Character Interpretation

‘Tis the Mind…

There always seems to be one line that comes to define my interpretation of a character. For Petruchio this one line has come to define not only the character but my view on the play itself:

For ‘tis the mind that makes the body rich,
And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
So honor peereth in the meanest habit.

While The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy full of slapstick humor and mistaken identities, I also think it asks the question “What is it that defines who you are?” The Induction scenes are a clear demonstration of this notion. Does Christopher Sly, in his mind, truly become a lord? Or is it just a dream? Or has he dreamt till now?

Petruchio constantly plays with this idea. He bends the truth, lies, and manipulates people to his own enjoyment. He knows exactly who he is and enjoys coaxing people into questioning themselves. He believes marriage is a complete sham and love is just an excuse. He comes to Padua not to find love but to “wive it wealthily.” He is only in it for the money; the wife is merely a place holder, a technicality.

All of this changes when he meets Kate.

The plan was simple. Attain the father’s consent. Cunningly keep Kate off-guard. Trick her into marrying him. Collect the dowry. Live happily ever after with his money. But as it turns out, he mistakenly falls in love with her. His entire reality is thrown into chaos. The way in which he defined himself has been questioned. He has caught himself in his own game.

But it’s ok.

His honor, his mind, his true self, can peer through the darkest clouds, right? Or perhaps the character that he has been playing is now playing him. If a kind, thoughtful, and caring man pretends to be a womanizing, arrogant, and chauvinistic man and if he plays that character long enough, does he become that man? Can someone become lost in a character? Are we defined by what we do? Or who we think we are?

Strangely enough I think this makes Petruchio love Kate even more. His game has always been to confuse, startle, and shock people. Kate joins him in his game and she does exactly what he’s been doing to her and everyone else. She understands him; even though now, he might not fully understand himself. A woman who can do that to Petruchio has truly won “the burden of his wooing dance.”

Kyle Walker’s Unlikely Muses as Petruchio

When I first began to develop the character of Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, a strange but clarifying discovery was made. The way in which I wanted to play the character reminded me of two very strange sources: Andy Kaufman and Edward Blake, the Comedian (a comic book character from the graphic novel Watchmen. )

Andy Kaufman’s humor was based on human emotion. It wasn’t always funny. He reveled in the control of human emotions. He could make (and loved to make) the audience feel whatever he liked. It didn’t matter if it was joy, laughter, hatred, embarrassment, remorse, fear, or anything. He enjoyed the reversal. He enjoyed the human reaction. And that is what Petruchio is.

There are many times in the play in which Petruchio is on stage but says nothing for pages. He just stands there and watches as the mistaken identity/wooing/suitor subplot plays out. He enjoys it. He enjoys watching the ridiculous farce of life. It’s just a game to him: a game of human reaction that he can control, enjoy, and get lost in.

In Watchman, the Comedian is a charismatic womanizing, self-centered, arrogant, vigilante. One could see right there where I could find a muse for Petruchio. But more importantly, the Comedian saw the world for what it is; a joke. Instead of being a part of that joke, he chooses to be a parody of it. When Petruchio sees how his world works (e.g.: father’s deciding who should marry who, suitors lying and cheating to get a wife, love being pushed aside, etc…), he chooses to become a satire of what he sees.

It is very important to me and the character that Petruchio truly does love Kate. At first it is simply a game. He tricks the girl, he gets he money. That game changes as soon as he meets Kate. So, Petruchio puts on a character that is boisterous, loud, arrogant, and flamboyant, to fit into the world of Padua. But also to make a joke of it. To laugh at it behind its back. To control it. When Kate discovers that joke and can laugh at it with him, that is when he falls in love.

Hello!  My name is Kyle Walker and I am playing Laertes and the Third Player in Hamlet.  This is my first production with the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company and it has been a fun, interesting and new experience.  It has challenged me in new ways and stretched my talents to their full potential.

Playing Laertes has been an extremely fun role for me.  It is a role full of joy, sadness, anger, regret, and passion.  Exploring these kinds of emotions is always fun on stage.  However, one of the greatest parts of Laertes, for me, is the stage sword fighting I get to do.  I recently graduated from Grand Valley State University in December of 2009 and in my time there, I performed in many shows that ranged from Shakespeare to musicals.  But in all of my time there I never once had the chance to experience stage combat.  It was an aspect of my college education that I regretted.  But as Laertes, sword fighting is an integral part of his character.  Laertes is a short-tempered, head-strong, and impressionable person.  What better person to wield a sword?  I was excited to finally try my hand at stage combat.

My work with the fight choreographer, Steven Schwall, has been a quite the learning experience.  Going into the fight rehearsals I already had an objective in mind:  I wanted to gain a basic knowledge of stage sword combat.  One of the first basics that we learned in our rehearsals was how to stand.  In sword play it is important to have a strong, steady stance: knees bent, legs apart and at a 45 degree angle.  This gives the player a strong hold on the ground so that he/she is in complete control of their body.  This concept is what has guided my stage combat experience.  Control is everything when you sword fight on stage.  It keeps the players in synch, keeps the actors safe, and makes the swordfight convincing.  This established a very useful fundamental for stage combat and even for acting.  Control of the body leads to control of the scene that you are playing.

The next aspect of the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company that I want to discuss in my blog is the music.  I have been playing the trombone since 5th grade and have always loved playing it.  But in recent years, since I began to focus more on acting, I began to lose touch with my trombone.  I was extremely excited to learn that I would be playing my trombone in Hamlet.  I have always kind of hoped that one day I would be able to bring my skills with the trombone to the theatre.  Sadly, I had never heard of a play where the actor is supposed to play a trombone.  So when they asked me to play my trombone in Hamlet I was very excited to finally have the chance to connect my two favorite arts: theatre and music.

At first I felt a little rusty and had to get used to blowing on the old horn again.  But just like riding a bicycle, it all seemed to come back to me as if it had never left.  Being able to play my trombone in this show has been fun but it has also made me realize something about the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company.  As an original practice Shakespeare Company, they play a lot.  They play with words, sounds, movement, emotions, meanings, costumes, props, and audiences.  But they also play to each other’s strengths.  When you are cast in a role, you don’t only learn your lines and play a character, you reach inside yourself for something more.  Something you can give to the cast, to the audience, or even to yourself.  And for me, the only thing I ask in return is a stage to make a character come to life.

Well, that about does it for me.  I hope you’ve learned something about the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company and maybe even something about me.  If you want to know anything else about me… (WARNING: shameless self-promotion coming up)… you will just have to come see me in Hamlet performing at Dog Story Theater: April 15-25, Beardsley Theater: April 28, and Christ Community Church: May 13-16.   Thank you for reading!

-Kyle Walker