Kerrie Seymour – Of Trinity, Jamberries and Being a Queen:
Kerrie Seymour has appeared on the Main Stage at The Warehouse Theatre so much, she might as well be one of the mandated exit signs hanging on the wall. People just expect to see her in that space. And audiences coming to see Richard III will not be disappointed, as Kerrie returns to our stage as Queen Elizabeth, the tragic matriarch in Shakespeare’s bloody history play. We recently caught up with Kerrie in between her full time job teaching acting at Clemson University and her full time job enjoying the otherworldly talents of her son, Young Liam. Here’s what Mrs. Seymour had to say:
WHT: You’ve had a bit of training haven’t you, Kerrie?
Kerrie: Yes. I have an MFA in Acting from Trinity Rep in Providence, Rhode Island.
WHT: And were you originally from Rhode Island?
Kerrie: No. I grew up in Mechanicsville, Maryland. It’s a little town about an hour from DC, but I’ve been in Greenville for eight years!
WHT: And you’ve spent a great deal of those eight years on stage at The Warehouse, right?
Kerrie: A lot of it! Yes! I’ve performed in at least a dozen shows. Most recently Strange Snow.
WHT: Do you have a favorite production that you’ve been physically involved with?
Kerrie: That is hard. Really recently, Strange Snow was a pretty special show. The process was great and everyone involved in the production was on the same page and it was a tremendously satisfying experience. You can’t go wrong in a process that included that team. I also loved working on Reckless, which was my first show at The Warehouse. I often talk to cast members of that show and we all agree it’s one of those shows you could just keep doing and still love it.
WHT: What has been your favorite experience in the theatre? Not necessarily as an actor, but as anything…audience member, tech assistant, director?
Kerrie: It was a production of Christopher Durang’s Betty’s Summer Vacation at the Huntington Theatre in Boston. Andrea Martin played Mrs. Seizmagraff and it was one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever experienced. She has this monologue in Act II that is just bonkers and Andrea Martin was just this electric, unstoppable, hilarious force. It was one of those “uh, yeah, this is theatre” moments.
WHT: What’s your favorite part of being an actor?
Kerrie: The act of coming together with other artists in service to a story is just a tremendous thing. It is fun and rewarding and challenging and terrifying and just sort of magical.
WHT: Is there someone who greatly influenced your work as an actor?
Kerrie: Hands down the amazing people I learned from, worked with and studied with during my time at Trinity Rep. It is that rare experience when you have this company of actors, many of whom are your teachers — and here they are teaching you a scene study or voice class during the day and then you can go and see them working professionally at night, practicing what they preach. And my classmates from that time … there were 16 of us and we spent 3 years of intense training together. I wouldn’t be who I am — as an actor or as a person — without my Trinity tribe.
WHT: How many Shakespeares do you have under your belt now?
Kerrie: If I am counting correctly, this is #14.
WHT: What is your favorite thing about working on Shakespeare’s plays?
Kerrie: The language. It is so rich and if you let it … it really does 90% of the work for you.
WHT: What’s been your favorite part of this rehearsal process? Is there something that you’ve rediscovered in the work or something newly learned that comes to mind?
Kerrie: It is always really lovely to work with a guest director. We are really fortunate to have great directors here in Greenville … but working with a new person is always a fun process that ends up stretching you and challenging a cast in a new way. Alex has brought such a smart spin and great energy to this production. And being directed is a lot like going back to school. It is always exciting to see a process through new eyes and learn from it.
WHT: Did a previous screening or performance of Richard III influence you in any direction?
Kerrie: I purposely have been avoiding any productions or clips on YouTube. I don’t like to take a chance on seeing a performance of my role that I love and trying to imitate that. It actually ends up distancing me from the work. So, I avoid it. But after we close, I hear there is a great documentary about the Kevin Spacey production and I’m excited to watch that.
WHT: Any words of advice for audience members coming to Richard III?
Kerrie: Just get ready. This is such a streamlined production and it moves like a freight train. It is one of those trains that, once it pulls out of the station, there is no mercy on the passengers. Once it starts, you are committed and really thrust into the story. So, yeah, get ready for a great ride.
WHT: Any question you wanted to be asked today, but we missed?
Kerrie: There was nothing on here about New Kids on the Block and that makes me worried for the state of the theatre and it makes me wonder about your priorities in life.
WHT: Once Richard has been interred, what’s your next gig?
Kerrie: Directly after Richard III closes, I will begin rehearsals for Center Stage’s Fringe Series production of Two Rooms (with Richard castmate Matt Reece)!
Relish Kerrie Seymour as Queen Elizabeth in Richard III playing through May 2nd!