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Kimberly Gilbert has been a fixture of the D.C. theatre scene for over 15 years. Kimberly has worked at almost every major theatre in the area since graduating from STC’s Academy of Classical Acting, though David Ives’s The Panties, The Partner and The Profit marks her first production as part of the STC mainstage season. Kimberly is known for acclaimed performances in countless productions including her portrayal of Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday at Ford’s Theatre, Marie in Marie Antoinette at Woolly Mammoth (for which she won a Helen Hayes Award) and Harper in Angels in America at Round House Theatre.
Shakespeare Theatre Company: What’s it like being on STC’s stage for the first time after graduating from the ACA?
Kimberly Gilbert: It’s an absolute trip being on the 4th Floor of 516 8th St SE [STC’s administrative offices and former home of the ACA] again. It was the place I traveled to DC for, almost 20 years ago, to audition for this brand new grad program I heard about from a photocopy of a brochure I saw. This was the place I spent one of the most important years of my life at. So what’s it like? It’s f—king awesome.
STC: What do you like about working in theatre in DC?
KG: In my year in grad school STC did a production of Timon of Athens…I never knew Shakespeare could be told with such grounded gravity, such raw poetry. This balance of exploration and intelligence is what has kept me here. This balance is pervasive throughout this community. I’m grateful to have watched, learned, emulated, and grown from it.
STC: How do you pick projects to work on? What is important to you in a production?
KG: I say yes…a lot. If I’m available I do everything I can to find the awesome in the piece I’m offered.
STC: You’ve appeared in many new plays. How do you develop a play/character when the playwright is in the room and the script may continue to change?
KG: I’ve learned to honor the playwright first and foremost, whether they’re in the room or not, dead or alive… we are collaborators in the piece of art we create.
STC: How has it been working with Michael and David so far?
KG: I’m trying to stay pragmatic about the beautiful enormity of this, so you know, ask me after we close, and I’ll go more in depth. Right now all I’ll say is I’m giddy.
STC: What are you looking forward to in this production?
KG: My debut on the Lansburgh with these insanely talented artists.
STC: Michael was your teacher at the ACA. What is it like having him as your director for the first time? Is there anything you learned from Michael that you’ve carried with you?
KG: Michael is the ultimate BS detector with me. I was molded at the beginning of my career by him and just 12 days into this rehearsal, he reinvigorated his tenets I learned almost 20 years ago: it’s vital to have a beating heart in all I do and say; listen to my scene partner like my life depends on it (usually does); move when motivated; take nothing for granted in the process (even if we all know what happens to Hamlet in the end).