Folger Theatre Spotlight: Kate Eastwood Norris

Folger Theatre Spotlight: Kate Eastwood Norris

You know around seventh or eighth grade,
you get those career aptitude tests and you fill out a bunch of circles and they
come back and tell you what you’re supposed to be? So it said for me “Meat
Packer” or “Truck Driver.” And so therefore I knew I could choose my own career
because I wasn’t gonna be any of those. So my first role that I remember was
Rumplestiltskin…and not the princess in Rumplestiltskin, but Rumplestiltskin. In first grade. I remember being the only person who would do that because the guys weren’t interested and the girls were too…already
in first grade…too afraid to do something like that. I got kind of ruined
by Rumplestiltskin and by going to American Shakespeare Center where I
played so many men and they gave me the chance to play Richard the Third. And this
was when I was just starting out, early 20s. And it became something that can
happen and so I left there and went to everywhere else where it doesn’t happen
often and I’m going, “what’s up with that?” But the theater world is changing and more and more and more you see women playing men or women
playing male characters as women or, you know, it’s possible now. So I’m very
excited because otherwise I’d have Queen Margaret to look forward to. Maybe a Gertrude. Love to do them all, but I’m so ready to go and to have to shut down
because I’m a woman and there’s no parts in Shakespeare for me? What a tragedy. So now I’m thinking, “well, let’s just keep going. Let’s do them all.” So many new
playwrights are writing roles for women that have not existed in plays that were
written before and I want to play one of those parts. I want to get some of
these amazing playwrights and these incredible new directors and work with
them and create something for the first time. Because my career has been so
strange. It’s a combination of classical theater that’s been done forever and new
plays…world premieres. And I love that! So I want to keep that going. And maybe my most favorite role hasn’t been invented yet. But I’m gonna keep my eye out for it. I like The Partridge Family guys
better than the Brady Bunch guys? My favorite drink? OK, Mistress Quickly is
definitely into the drinks. In this play not so much that we see. She’s into money. I would say any drink that has architecture. An umbrella and some fruit
is super fun for me. If I have a fun drink that is a little party in a glass… So many men I want to play. I want to play Cassius… I want to play Richard II very badly. I’d love to play Brutus, but I don’t think I’m right for Brutus. I would have liked my costume from “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” My Launce costume with those big
pants and the suspenders and the little hat and stuff. I think that would have
been awesome. But they were saving it because we might do it again…and I
couldn’t fit in them now. So they should just give them to me. At my dressing station I have a mirror that my grandmother had and it’s one of those mirrors…sort of a
compact mirror. And you open it up so there’s a regular mirror here and a
magnifying mirror there. And I remember seeing it on her dressing table growing
up and thinking it was so pretty because it has this rose on it. And then she died
and my mom got it. And I remember being, “Ma…I love your thing. Can I look in the mirror?” Not to look at myself. I just liked it as an object. And
then my mom died and I was going through her stuff… and I saw it and so I’m like, “This
is going in my dressing room.” So I look in it and I see both of them, as well as myself. I’m a big prankster. I enjoy pranks. Runs go a long time and five show
weekends…you gotta have some things to pep you up. So I do not prank onstage.
Very rarely. I was in Berkeley in California…Berkeley Rep. And I just, for some reason, this poor actor… I just kept putting Peeps in the toes of his
shoes. So he’d do a quick change and then have to shove on his shoe and he’d
hit a Peep. And I was thinking it was hilarious! Until one day he’s like, “Kate! Stop it.” “Right…sorry, sorry.” So I’m a bit more responsible with my
pranks. But no, I’m a prankster. (laughs)

1 thought on “Folger Theatre Spotlight: Kate Eastwood Norris

  1. Norris’ performances are consistently terrific.

    But my favorite wasn’t in a theatrical production. It was at the Howard Shalwitz retirement event a couple of years ago, held at Harman Hall, across the street from the big sports arena, where a major sports event was happening that same night.

    Norris and her husband, Cody Nickell, burst onto the Harman stage portraying rabid sports fans who, in trying to get to the arena, had taken a wrong turn and suddenly found themselves in front of hundreds of theater folk.

    Funny as hell, and exceedingly memorable.

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