"As an actor, it's a dream job. Now I get to play all the roles." — Tom Weiner
EH: (reading resume) New Shakespeare Company of San Francisco, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Rep. It says here you graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Psychology, but actually majored in Rock and Roll?
TW: I was a rock drummer during my college years in Santa Cruz, but I’ve been acting since I was ten. My professional acting career really began In 1974, when a friend called and said, “Come see me in As You Lke It in Golden Gate Park! It’s a really fun production!” That was my introduction to The New Shakespeare Co. of San Francisco, which I joined a few days later, performing first in San Francisco, and then all over the country — three nationwide tours covering 46 states — for three wonderful and exciting years.
"My approach to everything in life is usually to approach it with a sense of humor." — Kathleen Mahoney
EH: Tell me about “Kicking the Clouds Away.”
KM: It has songs of the ’20s and ’30s. We have been looking at a lot of newspaper headlines from those days; they are the same as the headlines today with the banks and unemployment. There are a lot of hopeful songs; there’s a lot of: “Bad times are just around the corner” and “Grey skies will clear up and it will be OK” and “Yes we can” kind of thing. The music is not stuff that has been done a lot. It’s nice: “Little Girl Blue,” “Pennies From Heaven” and “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee.” There is some familiar music, but some of it isn’t, especially the 1920s songs. It’s just amazing how the lyrics reflect what’s going on now. It’s truly uncanny.
"You'd be surprised how many good plays get done with a bad director, but never with a bad cast." — Doug Rowe,
EH: So you came to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as an actor?
DR: Yes, I was with OSF for five seasons. It was marvelous working there because I’d never worked with such an incredible level of actors. The actors that work at OSF are world class actors, really remarkable people, totally dedicated, hard working. It’s quite amazing. I’ve done Broadway, off Broadway, regional theater for years, but never was the caliber of actors as high as it was here. So it was a thrill to be a member of a company that was very distinguished.
I’ve been totally blessed; I’ve always worked either as an actor or as a director. I was the executive director of the Laguna Playhouse for 18 years. I’ve just never had a lull. When the Regional Theater Movement began in the 1960s, it was the rebirth of theater. It just blossomed. Professional actors were working all over. Now every area has at least one regional theater.
"The live voice and the live story is what we need as a society. It gives us our humanity." — Kate Sullivan
EH: You graduated in theater from the University of Hawaii with a BA in theater?
KS: Yes. I received some nice training and I always wanted to take part in the building of a small theater. That happened here.
EH: What are your favorite roles; what would you like to create here?
KS: Any good part in a great play is a dream, because you are etching out that role forever. The author has given you so much to work with. You can play it a thousand times and you are still deepening the performance. I’m open to all roles and plays. Shakespeare, Williams, new plays. I get really excited, you know, working on an original piece. I love being part of that playwright, actor, director, collaboration. I would love this theater to grow so that it can be a place where actors, directors and playwrights can continue to create together.