Welcome to the latest installment of our Get to Know series! In this edition we sat down with cast-member Kim Egan, who portrays the Third Party Member in our upcoming production of 1984 by George Orwell.
MONUMENT: Alrighty, let's begin! As always we'll start off with a few warm-up questions before we make you start bearing your soul. What's your favorite color?
KIM EGAN: Blue.
M: What about your favorite food?
KE: Pasta with shrimp and lots of garlic!
M: Do you have a favorite article of clothing?
M: Do you have any tattoos?
KE: No, I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to needles.
M: Favorite weather/time of year?
KE: Fall. I love seeing the leaves change colors. Also, by the time fall starts, I'm ready for some cooler weather... and those cardigans I love so much!
M: Do you enjoy sports?
KE: I don't follow any particular teams, but I'll sit in a stadium and eat a pretzel with friends. I do enjoy following the World Cup and the Olympics every few years.
M: Coffee or tea?
KE: Coffee for everyday, tea when I'm feeling sick. M: What are some hobbies/interests of yours we might not know about?
KE: I'm an aspiring foodie.
M: What do you do to relax?
KE: Late night baking while listening to showtunes.
M: Dream Vacation?
KE: Australia and New Zealand! My favorite things to do on vacation are to go sight-seeing in iconic cities, experience the culture of another country, and see beautiful scenery and nature that I can't see here, so I think Australia and New Zealand would have the whole package.
M: Do you have a favorite writer?
KE: I enjoy the dystopian stories by Margaret Atwood... I guess that means I'm in the right show!
M: Well you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be getting into that later. Do you have a favorite actor?
KE: Sandra Oh. She is a versatile, talented, beautiful actor who is also Korean! She's someone I aspire to be like.
M: Sandra Oh is absolutely a gem. Are there any specific roles you can think of that display her versatility or that inspire you?
KE: I was never a "Grey's Anatomy" fan, but I had seen clips of her on the show and of course I was aware that she was a big part of the show and was this strong, smart, funny woman. Then I went on a "Killing Eve" binge last year and was totally blown away. Like...how had I gone so long without watching her in everything! I think she's one of those actors who can do comedy and drama equally well. Her character on "Killing Eve" is in these high-stress situations and is trying to hold everything together, but she still find the humor and absurdity in them too. M: What do you admire in people?
KE: Work ethic, kindness, willingness to try, and a willingness to change.
M: What do you despise in people?
KE: Wishy-washiness, disrespect, and a lack of curiosity.
M: What charms you in a person?
KE: When their awkward matches my awkward!
M: Where are you from?
KE: I grew up in southern Minnesota.
M: What was it like growing up there?
KE: I came from a bigger city that felt like a small town. It was a good place to grow up, even if there wasn't a lot to do there! I think Minnesota gets a reputation for having people who are kind and polite but also distant. I'm still trying to work past the instinct to stay at that surface-level "Minnesota nice" and try to get to know people a little better. Growing up there also instilled in me the notion that people should help each other, and I gained an appreciation for nature and the outdoors. I probably would have stayed there forever, whether due to family or ease or fear of the unknown. But life is unpredictable, and there are pros and cons to every decision. I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had that I wouldn't had I stayed. M: When did you develop an interest in theatre?
KE: I loved going to see theater on field trips when I was a kid, but I didn't start acting myself until high school.
M: When did you decide to pursue it as a career?
KE: Honestly I'm still figuring that out. I took a break from acting for a few years while I was living overseas, and it was one of the things I missed the most. I'm grateful for every opportunity I have to create theater because I know how quickly it can all end. Now I'm planning to ride this train as far as it takes me and just see where things go!
M: You took a break from acting. About how long was that break and what were some of your experiences when you decided to give it another go?
KE: I took a break from acting for 3 years while I was living overseas. I had always considered myself an actor and a performer, and to suddenly not have it in my life anymore caused a lot of identity questioning and confusion. When I moved back to the US, there wasn't a question of whether or not I would start auditioning again; theater is something that I hope remains part of my life forever. I had to sort of shake out the cobwebs and work through a lot of self-doubt about whether I still had what it takes. I admit, there were a lot of auditions and opportunities I talked myself out of and let pass by. But, I took some classes that helped me brush up on old skills and learn new skills, and I found some good people and good companies to work with who got me out of my funk, and slowly I started regaining my confidence. I also realized through talking to other actors that everyone feels self-doubt and questions what they're doing sometimes...even if they didn't take a 3-year break! M: What are the kinds of stories you gravitate to?
KE: Dramas about complicated families or relationships that show real, true interpersonal interactions.
M: What is it about these stories that resonates with you?
KE: Real life is messy sometimes. Also, who can't relate to family drama? If your family isn't complicated then we must come from pretty different backgrounds.
M: What is the effect you want your work to have on the audience?
KE: When I was growing up, I never saw people who looked like me or my family on TV or in movies, and it made me feel invisible. When people watch my work I want them to see that people from diverse communities are just regular people with dreams and conflicts and who are just trying to live life. I also always imagine that kid in the audience who feels invisible or feels like their stories aren't represented, and I hope that I can inspire them a little and that they see my face and see that the can be and do anything they want to.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The above response is why we are dedicated to inclusion. Kim, and others like her, are a fundamental part of storytelling and we are so thankful she returned to acting. Keep fighting the good fight, Kim - you are absolutely necessary.)
M: Is there anything about 1984 that excites you?
KE: I'm really excited to show how the characters all fit together, especially the Party Members. The action is happening in real time, and they're all reacting to and grappling with this information in different ways. I think the theater space we're working in adds another exciting element, as it forces the audience to be part of the action. M: You're portraying the Third Party Member. This is a multi-faceted role that presents a number of challenges, what are some insights you can provide about your experience with this part?
KE: Third Party Member is completely indoctrinated by the teachings of Big Brother. She plays by the rules and doesn't like people stepping out of line. She is someone who holds it together pretty well, but there is something about the case that rattles her. I want to look at why she is so shaken by the rule-breaking around her and why she deals with it by lashing out, both verbally and physically. One of my challenges for approaching this character is to take all the law-abiding, rule-following parts of my own personality and see what happens when they get ramped up. Another challenge for me is tapping into 3PM's aggressive side, as I'm much more mild-mannered!
M: To date, what has been your most gratifying experience in performance?
KE: I took a break from theater for several years when I was living overseas. When I moved back to the US, I decided it was time to get back in the game. My first show after moving back was a Shakespeare and I got to act, sing, and play the clarinet! Going in, I had a lot of doubts and a lot to prove, and this show reminded me what I loved about performing and helped me see that there was still a place for me in theater.
M: You've had the opportunity to work in a number of different markets. Is there anything unique about theatre in Indianapolis?
KE: I'm still figuring this out too! I've been in Indy for almost one year now. I've been lucky enough to work with 3 different theater companies, and all of them are relatively young (founded in the last 5 years or less). I'm really surprised how many theater companies in the area have been around 20, 30, 40 years! That shows that there is a demand for the arts and theater here, as well as an ample supply of actors and talent. I do wonder sometimes how younger companies can best compete and stand out to get the same amount of recognition as these older community institutions. I think there's a lot of potential in these younger, newer companies to reach new audiences and tell stories that maybe have not been represented before. They just need the community to take a chance on them! M: What would you like to be remembered for in 100 years?
KE: I hope I am remembered as someone who tried to live truthfully, create beauty, help others, and make the world a better place.
Now you know Kim! Don't miss your opportunity to witness her remarkable work onstage in 1984! For all updates, announcements, and information be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter!