Friday, February 26, 2010

FRIGID New York Interview - Kimleigh Smith of T-O-T-A-L-L-Y!

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Walter Tabayoyong

Name: Kimleigh Smith
Show: T-O-T-A-L-L-Y!

How did you first get involved in theatre?

It's funny, I never wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be a child psychologist and that is what I have a degree in. Then right before I graduated from college something inside of me changed and I realized I was an artist and that is what I have always wanted to be! So, I moved to Chicago to become a professional dancer and that wasn't enough and then someone encouraged me to audition for a play, I did and I booked it and from that day forth I knew what I was meant to do and I was going to do that forever! I have been acting since the day I was born, my mother knew it and it took me awhile to figure it out! Now, there is no turning back!

Who are your biggest influences?

It all starts with my mom...she is amazing and she taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to and I have! She is a real live superhero! From there the list is endless! Right now my big ones are Whoopi Goldberg - have you seen her one-woman show... mind blowing! - Oprah, Alicia Keys, Daniel Day-Lewis, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Tyler Perry, Garry Marshall - he gave me my first big break - Sherri Shepherd, Keifer Sutherland, Gary Oldman, Quentin Tarantino and so many more!

Tell me a little bit about your show.

In this totally powerful theater piece you will witness me as a young cheerleader transforming into a woman who embraces her inner superhero as she reclaims her sexuality and lives as a whole, healthy woman!

What inspired you to write it?

Gosh, it all started when I donated my kidney to my cousin and I was on morphine for one day after the surgery and I talked and talked and talked, and my family was laughing so hard they were like you need to do a one-woman show, and I was like yeah right. Then everywhere I went, people were telling me to do a one-woman show and I was like no way... I was scared shitless! Then one day I woke up and I was like okay I am going to do it and I did! So here I am, after writing, directing, performing and producing my own show. I brought on a director and now it is in full form! I think it was always in me, I just needed to reach a place where I was ready to embrace it!

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with

I started with the first draft working with my friend Seth Sultan. I had just taken a class with Paula Killen that was this 4-day intensive, where at the end of the 4 days you would put up a piece in front of an audience... in only 4 days mind you... from this, the second half of my show was created and I had a fit creating it. After this class I was psyched and so excited about the show and an old teacher of mine, Ruth Otero, kept saying rent the space and the show will come. So, I called Seth and we rented a space and both of us decided to do a 1-hour piece, and the night was fantastic! After that everyone kept telling me to keep on going and so I did! Then I called Paula and I knew she could be my eyes and help me take my show to the next level, and we did!

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Well, I just won The Actor's Group 3rd Annual Solo Festival... Yay! I am also doing the Fringe Circuit for the first time and it starts with FRIGID, and then I am off to Phoenix next, Orlando, KC, DC, SF, Hollywood, Cincinnati - not in that order - and I am hoping to go to Chicago and New Orleans and back to NYC for the NYC Fringe! I also just started the College Tour and I am going to Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA in April for their take back the night event! Yay! I am open to come to any college or university! My show is great for that audience!

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience,
what would it be?

To live boldly! Embrace Your Cape and never stop flying! This is it, the Mega Most Awesomest Event of Your Entire Life... Life that is... always be all you!

By Kimleigh Smith

The Red Room
85 East 4th Street

Thu 2/25 - 6:30 PM
Sat 2/27 - 2:00 PM
Wed 3/03 - 9:30 PM
Fri 3/05 - 11:00 PM
Sat 3/06 - 5:00 PM
Sun 3/07 - 6:30 PM

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