Conversation with OSF actor K.T. Vogt

Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor K.T. Vogt is playing the Clown in “All’s Well That Ends Well” and a myriad of other characters in “Hairspray” this season. Vogt has been a member of the OSF acting company for 12 years. She played a hilarious Falstaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in 2017.

We visited one afternoon in the Bill Patton Garden on the OSF Campus.

EH: How do you deal with the uncertainty of the acting profession?

KTV: As an actor, you always say “yes,” and forget about it if you want to have a happy life. In my 20-year career in Los Angeles, I heard from the range of, “We don’t even need to see anybody else, you’ve got the part” (and never even get a call back), to feeling like you blew it, (and then getting hired). In one week’s time I heard from different auditions: “You’re too old,” “You’re too young,” “You’re too large,” “You’re too small.” I heard all that, and I was free. I got that message: It’s all arbitrary and illusory. That was my beautiful blessing. So, have a happy life, and when it’s right, it will happen.

With auditions, months pass, you don’t hear anything, and that’s normal. If you’re somebody who thinks, “Why don’t I hear anything?” You’ll go berserk. Every time I would audition I’d think, “That was a great experience. It’s always great to meet new people.” You just do that. The lucky thing about having been in Los Angeles is that you don’t expect anything.

EH: You played Falstaff. What was it like playing a man?

KTV: It’s very freeing. I channeled my Dad. When you’re playing a man, you take up more space. Do you know that, in general, men breathe 30 percent more oxygen than women? They even take more of the things that are free.

Falstaff is bigger than life, the most delightful person, and also a scary tyrant. He is like a toddler that can drive. That’s dangerous. He knows how to drive, but he might be impulsive. People think, “Oh, boy, what are those Merry Wives going to do next? He practically raped them — adorable.” As Falstaff, people were never disgusted about what I did. If it were a man doing it, I think it would have been disgusting. But because I’m a woman doing it, it was somehow weirdly adorable, “That stinker, look what he’s getting away with.” It’s so wrong, but somehow when it’s a woman doing it, we can see the story. You may be offended, but still able to process the story.

EH: Tell me about the OSF acting company.

KTV: Here, we’re like this family. This place instantly weeds out divas. Everybody who comes here rolls up their sleeves and works; they also understudy. The guy who plays Hamlet may go on for Sword Carrier No. 3. So, you have a person who will work, likes to be with other people, and doesn’t have to have special star treatment. That’s how this place is a great equalizer. There’s not one person in this company that I wouldn’t be delighted to work with. I know that this is a blessed time in my life. And whether or not I get to come back, I have such gratitude, I’m a better person, and I’ve learned more about myself. If it continues, how crazy wonderful is that? How blessed. If not, “Thank you.” That’s it.

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