Kate Eastwood Norris is playing the role of Philip the Bastard in Folger Theatre’s production of “King John” which runs October 23rd through December 2nd.
Bio: Kate Eastwood Norris (Philip the Bastard) – Folger Theatre: Macbeth (2018, 2008), Mary Stuart, The Taming of the Shrew (Helen Hayes nomination), Hamlet: Now I Am Alone, The School for Scandal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helen Hayes Award), Much Ado About Nothing, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, She Stoops To Conquer, The Tempest, Hamlet (1999); Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Stupid F***ing Bird (Helen Hayes nomination), Full Circle, Fever/Dream, She Stoops To Comedy (Helen Hayes Award), Big Love, Bug; Arena Stage: The Book Club Play; Source Theatre: Intimate Exchanges (Helen Hayes nomination), Private Eyes; Round House Theatre: A Body of Water; Actors’ Theatre of Washington: Boston Marriage; Washington Shakespeare Company: Strange Interlude (Helen Hayes nomination), The Taming of the Shrew. Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival: Gnit, Eat Your Heart Out; Berkeley Repertory Theatre: Concerning Strange Devices From The Distant West; Shakespeare Santa Cruz: Much Ado About Nothing, The Playboy of the Western World, As You Like It, King Lear; Portland Center Stage: Bo-Nita, The North Plan, How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found; Florida Stage: Ghostwriter; Delaware Theatre Company: Lucy.
For more information about “King John” at Folger Theatre, click here.
What makes Philip the Bastard such an interesting character?
I could give you the dramaturgical answer about how different he is than Shakespeare’s usual discontented bastards because of his specific circumstances, sense of humor, and lust for life, but really, right now I am loving the fact that I get to be knighted, forcibly held back from fighting because of all the damage I might do, and many other examples of being a complete bad-a*s. Women don’t get to experience these things in Shakespeare and it feels incredible.
What is your favorite line that you get to say in the play and why?
This will change because it always does, but right now it is:
“Put up thy sword betime,
Or I’ll so maul you and your toasting-iron
That you shall think the devil is come from hell”
I mean come ON!
If you could ask William Shakespeare any question, what would it be and why?
Interestingly, it would not be a question about how a line or character should be played because figuring that out with my cast and director is most of the fun and challenge, but I am actually dying to know if Christopher Marlowe really was a double agent!?
What’s your advice to someone performing Shakespeare for the first time?
Never let how lucky you feel fade entirely away.
Don’t let the gorgeousness of the language suck you into thinking all the characters are not often coining the phrases as they speak.
Remember the architecture of the theaters for which Shakespeare was writing and include the audience in your journey.
What attracted you to begin a career as an actor? Why do you feel this is the ideal profession for you?
It all began with a deep appreciation for comedy and watching Carol Burnett episodes where the cast were clearly having the time of their lives. That and a powerful sense that telling stories is worth any amount of effort. It has been my ideal profession, but I am thinking teaching is calling me a bit more these days. The idea of introducing Shakespeare to a bunch of freshman required to be there fills me with more of a sense of purpose than tackling any role I can think of, except, of course, for the Bastard!