Kevin Douglas makes his third appearance on the Lookingglass stage.
From The Around The World in 80 Days Issue of ArtAntica
Mentioned in this entry: Kevin Douglas, David Catlin, Doug Hara and Philip R Smith
Kevin Douglas first appeared on stage with Lookingglass in last season's world premiere of Black Diamond. His stand out performance landed him in last summer's production of Lookingglass Alice in the role originated by Ensemble member Doug Hara. For this summer's production of Alice, Kevin will return as the Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty and others. In Around the World in 80 Days, Kevin plays Passepartout. Getting cast in four Lookingglass shows in just over a year is no small feat. At the Lookingglass artistic retreat in December, Kevin, along with costume designer Alison Siple, were named Artistic Associates of the company.
How do the rehearsal processes for these three shows you've done at Lookingglass compare?
All three of them have been very collaborative. Black Diamond, it was actually kind of jolting, the collaboration. They asked us [the actors] questions about the script and we could really give input and really contribute. Which is different. Alice: I had a week of rehearsals and then tech. There wasn't as much collaboration because I was filling in for Doug [Hara]. But there were still things being changed because [director David] Catlin's a changer. He likes to make things new and different. Again with Around the World, it's a brand new script and there's a lot of collaboration and there's moments where Phil [Smith] will chime in and say "maybe this will work better for the character." And I'm thinking "Phil, that's not even your character." [Laughs.] But he'll be right. There's no egos or anything. It's about making the work better. It's about making the script as good as it can be.
Has your background in improv and sketch comedy prepared you at all for that collaborative environment?
Yes, yes it has. For example, with Lookingglass it's very physical and it's like "please try everything and if your safety's an issue, say something." And that's pretty much been the mantra since I started with them. And I love that. Because you don't know what's going to happen. Maybe it's a horrible idea and maybe it doesn't work but we discover something else because of that happy accident.
Talk about the physical demands of working in a Lookingglass show. Lookingglass Alice of course has a lot of circus involved and in Around the World in 80 Days you have a lot of fight choreography.
I do lots of warm ups. With Around the World, I didn't realize how much physical stuff was going to be in it. It's nothing compared to Alice but it's still quiet a bit. With [cast member and fight choreographer] Nick Sandys, he told me I'd be doing a lot of French kick boxing called Savate. So I went online, looked at youtube, watched some Savate and tried to get the oldest version I could find. I don't want it to look too modern. And Nick's great. He actually taught me stage combat at DePaul. So it was cool working with him again. And he makes it look so good. He's gonna make me look so good. [Laughs.]
What about Alice the second time around. Are you doing anything different now that you know what you've gotten yourself into?
Yes. I'll get more than a week's worth of rehearsals. [Laughs.] I'll be able to come from the beginning. And of course Catlin already has new ideas. We're going to make it fresh. I'm pretty excited about this process, about having a second chance at going at it.
Since last summer's Alice you've been back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles. What have you been up to in L.A.
I've been doing a lot of not working. [Laughs.] I got there, and then two weeks later the writer's strike happened. So it was cool to get acclimated. I didn't have to rush to get an agent because there was nothing to get an agent for. I did get a commercial agent, so that was cool. I have a lot of friends out there who were able to help me adjust. So I've worked maybe 10 jobs since I was out there. I worked at a casting office. I catered the Oscars and I catered the Grammys. A lot of odd jobs. I did a lot of writing while I was out there. And I'm back in Chicago and Chicago's feeding me now. [Laughs.]