BBW Interviews: Actor Scot A. Kaitanowski of Shakespeare in Delaware Park's HENRY V
You are currently in Buffalo's Shakespeare in the Parks "Henry V". What character do you play?
I'm playing The Duke of Westmoreland (Henry's Uncle) as well as Captain MacMorris.
What's it like to perform outside live where the elements (weather, insects and other outside influences) can make or break your performance? Have any humorous stories of working outside?
One the greatest aspects of Shakespeare in Delaware Park is performing outside, just as they did it in Shakespeare's day. There is something so magical about being on that stage in such a beautiful section of the park just as the sun is setting and the stage lights take over. You truly get transported to a different time. The lights do attract the bugs, however, and you will at some point swallow a few. The weather, too, can be a problem. It seems here in Buffalo when it rains in the summer it's usually a huge thunderstorm, so we either have to delay or cancel all together. And there are other elements that can distract, as well. During a monologue in "Richard III" a seagull landed on the stage so the actor simply directed the monologue to it. Later in the play another actor and myself were playing soldiers in formal military attire. Every time we went on stage a dog in the crowd would bark at us. The other actor summed it up by saying, "Well, we do look like mailmen."
We also perform on the 4th of July, so once it gets dark the fireworks in the area are pretty loud. Luckily "Henry V" has quite a few battle scenes, so that may work in our favor!
These may seem like distractions, but they're just part of what makes Shakespeare in Delaware Park so special.
Is this your first year doing Shakespeare in the Park? If not, what other roles have you done there?
This is my 3rd time on Shakespeare Hill...I played Brakenbury in "Richard III" , Marcellus in "Hamlet" and some minor roles, too.
In the fallyou'll be doing "The Crucible" for ART of WNY.
What character do you portray? Why this play? What drew you to it?
In "The Crucible" I'm playing Rev. Parris. I remember reading this play in HS and not quite understanding it. But as I got older and realized what an impact McCarthyism had in this country and unfortunately it seems to be happening again. There are so many groups of people being labeled "evil" and the bandwagon mentality of this country is mirroring this play quite profoundly. It's frightening, really. I hope people will catch all the symbolism and understand that it is still quite prevelant today.
You've built a very impressive acting resume over the last twenty years. Tell usabout your top five (more if you want) favorite characters?
I can't say there's a part I really didn't like playing but I do have some favorites. Subversive Theatre did a series of staged Twilight Zone episodes and in one, "He's Alive" I got to play Hitler. It was very difficult to play someone so filled with hatred. Another show I did with Subversive was "Marat/Sade" in which I played Jacques Roux, a crazed inmate who ranted about the state of society. It was an over-the-top part! I got to shave my head and rape a nun...not too many of those roles around. At ART of WNY I played Ansel in Tracy Lett's "Killer Joe" which was such a great experience because the play is very intense and the whole cast became very close. The same happened with two other parts, both were inmates in psychiatric wards. (I'm started to get typecast!) The show "Cosi" is about a case worker who wants to have the inmates put on a play as therapy. I played Roy, an inmate, who wants the play to be the Mozart opera, Cosi Fan Tutti. It was a very touching look at mental illness and making dreams come true. Just recently I played Harding in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"...a real emotional roller-coaster.
Is there any roles you would want to play again?
I love the role of Scottie in Bernard Slade's "Tribute". I played it once years ago but I felt I was too young at the time. I think I finally have the maturity to play it properly. Well, maybe not the maturity, I at least look old enough now!
Who you want to play that you haven't yet?
Oh, there are so, so many! Sadly some of the parts I would love to play are in musicals, but I can't sing. If I ever get enough courage to take some singing lessons I would love to play Harold Hill in "The Music Man"...King Arthur in "Camelot"...or Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha".
HENRY V, history play by William Shakespeare, presented by Shakespeare in Delaware Park, directed by Saul Elkin, starring Patrick Moltane, Tim Newell, Adam Rath, Scot A. Kaitanowski, Gerry Maher, Tom Loughlin, Darleen Pickering Hummert, Marie Costa, Arianne Davidow. Through Jul 13, Tue-Sun at 7:30. Shakespeare Hill, Delaware Park, behind the Rose Garden