A GoPride Interview

Timothy Edward Kane

Timothy Edward Kane interview with ChicagoPride.com

Thu. December 1, 2011  by Michael J. Roberts

Timothy Edward Kane

Chicago actor Timothy Edward Kane, talks about his one man show ‘An Iliad’ in an interview by Michael J. Roberts

One of Chicago's finest actors, Timothy Edward Kane, talks about his one man show ‘An Iliad' currently running to rave reviews at the Court Theatre. ‘An Iliad' is an adaptation of Homer's tale of the Trojan War which pits Achilles against Hector. Mr. Kane talks about the preparation of his role and how something written centuries ago is still relevant today.

MJR: (Michael J. Roberts) First off, congratulations on ‘An Iliad‘. You have received such amazing reviews and deservedly so. How did the part of The Poet come your way?

TEK: (Timothy Edward Kane) Last February, Charlie Newell called me up and told me he had encountered this piece and asked if I would be interested in being a part of it. He sent me the script and I read it and was really taken aback. I was flattered by his trust in me to undertake it along with the challenge and the depth of it and the remarkable feet that Dennis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson did to adapt something on such as massive scale to distill it down to something barely over 90 minutes is just breathtaking. I thought about it for a week or so and decided to do it. So it has been almost a year in the making.

MJR: What was the rehearsal process like for you?

TEK: Luckily, Charlie (Newell) and I have worked 7 or 8 times before so there was a level of trust that was hard to match so it made us both comfortable to be in the room together. It was a very intimate process. Giving the demands for the piece we kept the days short, never working more than 5 hours a day because both he and I would become exhausted and then it would become a matter of diminishing returns. Overall, I went into it and began memorizing at the end of July and early August. Having most of the memorization done when I got into rehearsal, I was able to work more efficiently then I would have otherwise been able to do. I have never been in a one person show so I really didn't know what do expect. Then in October, a switch clicked in my head and I began approaching it like a regular show and that seemed to really work for my mindset. There was also a great team Charlie assembled, with lights, set and sound and it just really came together terrifically.

MJR: Does the audience impact your performance at all?

TEK: Yes, and more so with this. Sometimes they are passive and want to story to be told to them while other times the audience really opens up and gets into it. So it is slightly different from night to night.

MJR: An Iliad focuses on the concept the war. In doing this piece, have your formed any opinion on why you think war has been so pervasive throughout mankind's existence?

TEK: Now Michael, that is quite the question!! If I really knew what caused man to go to war, I would probably run for office. The play and source material resonant because it is the original war story showing how man and conflict are always linked. The play explores different facets of it. It references rage. I guess war is just a part of humanity and what Homer did is except that and didn't pass any judgment on it. He wrote about the glory of war and the art of war as well as its repercussions.

MJR: I think that is an important point Tim, that Homer did not pass judgment. It explores the human ego from most every point but no sides are taken.

TEK: That is what is so remarkable which I never understood until I started reading and digesting the source material. Here you have a Greek book by a Greek author from the vantage of the victors and yet it tells the side of the Trojans, the defeated, the vanquished, the conquered, with equal depth of compassion. That is what is so startling about it. It switches back and forth. It seems impossible but you root for both sides at the same time.

MJR: What do you find unique about working at the Court Theatre?

TEK: I have been working there just over 10 years now and I have always found it a very fruitful collaboration. I have only ever worked with Charlie there. His take and his dedication to exploring classic theatre and bringing a new vibrancy to it has always been exciting to me. These works have been around for a reason. The themes are still as relevant today as when they were written and Court exemplifies that like no other theatre.

MJR: I believe you also met your wife at Court Theatre as well?

TEK: Absolutely. I met her in the scene shop. We were not working together yet. Our dear friend Guy Adkins introduced us to each other. He was the best man in our wedding and we surely miss him and his talent.

MJR: What is next for you?

TEK: I will be doing A Mid-Summer Night's Dreams and I am really looking forward to having other actors on stage with me to keep me company!

MJR: Thank you for doing this interview and congratulations again.

TEK: Thank you Michael, it was a great and insightful interview.

"An Iliad" runs through December 11 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, Chicago. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm, Sundays at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are $40-$60, and are available by phone (773-753-4472) or visit www.courttheatre.org

Interviewed by Michael J. Roberts. Michael J. Roberts is theatre editor for the ChicagoPride.com covering Chicago's diverse arts and entertainment scene.