how Kate Smith's surprise career led to a Summer Fling
by Dan Lalande
Actor. Teacher. Mother.
In that order? Uh, well…
Suffice it to say Kate Smith, the fresh faced actor you’ve seen in every company in town (Third Wall, Odyssey, Salamander, etc.) and now, as one in a trio of soul-searching mothers in Kathleen Clark’s Secrets of a Soccer Mom, suffers from a serious case of overlap.
So much so, in fact, she had a hard time separating the professional ― aka the role of Alison, the youngest of the three on-stage parents ― from the personal.
“I have had many life experiences similar to Alison,” Smith confesses, “and while calling on those memories is useful to understand my character’s behaviour and intention, it can also be overwhelming and distracting. I have had to create a very clear background for my character to distinguish for myself what is true in terms of her story and how it pertains to the action of the play.”
It’s a background that includes second thoughts about both marriage and children, until, thanks to her two sideline-sitting sistas, Alison is brought round to see things in a new light.
It’s an amusing three-hander that kicks off this year’s Summer Fling festival, a run of shows aimed at luring tourists to the Rideau Street area.
It’s a growing initiative Smith is happy to be a part of, particularly as it furthers a surprise career ― she had never acted before university ― that has enjoyed many a milestone since her 2006 graduation from Dalhousie’s theatre program.
“I had always loved acting and singing,” Smith relates. “I just didn’t know it was a viable career option.”
Viable? Well, if you balance it with other things, like teaching, which Smith has been doing at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama for the past five years.
“This business can make you very cynical very quickly,” she admits, “and seeing the passion and rawness of students allows me to appreciate what I do for a living, and lets me see my craft through fresh eyes.”
Words of praise for the young, worthy of a soccer mom.
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