OnStage / Ten Questions for Kate Loconti
(Constance, THE CONSTANT WIFE)
1. What’s your relationship to this show?
I had heard of the playwright Somerset Maugham and his novel, Of Human Bondage, but not of The Constant Wife in particular. I could not put it down! Rarely have I read a “page turner” of a play. I was completely drawn in by how well-structured it is, and that was compounded by Constance’s machinations.
2. What’s the best acting advice you were ever given?
I’ve had many acting teachers and mentors along the way, Vincent O’Neill, Jerry Finnegan, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Kristin Linklater, and Andrei Serban to name my most influential. There are three things I always come back to:
“Get all of the soda out of the can,” “Your work will get you the work,” and “Who are you saving it for?” Those, and to dedicate each production to someone. I love the idea of the work being for others.
3. What’s your best “the show went on” moment?
I had the good fortune to understudy Joan Allen at Steppenwolf in Chicago. The production was The Wheel, a two-hour show in which she only left the stage for about ten minutes. I had to go on without a put-in rehearsal; there was no time to run through it with all of the elements. Two times I performed it that day, with a third performance the following day. I loved every moment.
4. What’s the role that got away?
Juliet! One time I was too young, and one time I was too old. I love her intelligence and bravery. Her language reflects it, and it’s an incredible role for a young woman. Thankfully, I recently directed it, so I feel like I’ve at least seen her journey from the inside.
5. What line from a former play have you never forgotten and why?
“I am the seagull.” The Seagull is my favorite play, and that line is repeated throughout. It is Nina’s mantra and a touchstone for her. I was about Nina’s age when I played her, so it’s stayed with me for quite some time.
6. What “against type” role are you dying to play?
I feel very fortunate to be able to play many different types already! But, I would love the opportunity to play more comediennes. I had a fabulous time working on Outside Mullingar and The 39 Steps.
7. What’s your classic actor nightmare dream?
Ugh! Mine doesn’t have to do with learning lines, but with costumes. It’s always the costume is not there, or doesn’t fit, or wasn’t what I thought. When I’m rehearsing a role, I use rehearsal shoes and clothes to influence how the character moves. That movement translates or adjusts based on the costume, so it’s become very important to me. It can be used like a prop or an extension of the character, so I like to know what it is and how to use it ahead of time, if possible. I do love a good costume!
8. What would you change about this headshot if you could?
It’s a few years old, so I’d like to update it, but other than that, nothing at all.
9. What’s been the best thing you’ve seen this season and why?
It’s only October [at press time], but I loved the performances in Glengarry Glen Ross, and all of the imagination that went into Peter and the Starcatcher.
10. Plugs for the rest of the season or something else?
I loved pals knocking it out in The Crucible [at the Kavinoky in November], and can’t wait to see them in The Night Alive [at Irish Classical in March]!
Kate LoConti plays Constance Middleton in The Constant Wife, beginning January 19 at Irish Classical Theatre.
Read more on this month's theater scene here.
Playwright Donna Hoke writes about theater for Spree and Forever Young.