Meet Jens Rasmussen from The Twentieth-Century Way

We are very excited to welcome a familiar face to Know Theatre’s stage for The Twentieth-Century Way! Jens Rasmussen has been seen on our stage previously in both
Skin Tight (2010) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (2011).
Will you tell us a little bit about your background? I grew up in rural Wisconsin – lots of time outdoors, hunting and ice fishing.

Can you tell us about the moment you knew you wanted to be an actor? Probably getting cast in a semi-professional production as Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream right out of high-school is what ultimately did me in.

How do you prepare for a role? Mostly I read the play a lot. For a show like this, I look at historical source materials to fill out the world that wasn’t able to be included in the play. I’ll also dig into dialect research – which was critical in this show. But every show is a little different and my process morphs depending on the play’s parameters.
Tell us about your favorite role (besides your role in The Twentieth-Century Way of course). Easy – Tom in Skin Tight right here at the Know. It was one of those magical experiences – I got to work with one of my favorite directors (Drew Fracher) who put me opposite the amazing Beth Harris. That one was hard to close.
Tell us just a little bit about your character in The Twentieth-Century Way. I don’t even know where to begin. Like the historical character he’s based on, Warren is an enigma – a charmer yet elusive, cruel yet vulnerable. I find him terribly exciting and think audiences will too.
What has been your strangest experience as an actor? Having a naked man draw on my penis with a felt marker has got to be near the top of the list…
Look to your right, the first thing you see is your only weapon, how do you use it to stave off the impending zombie apocalypse?  This pepper shaker is surprisingly effective against zombies. While it will not de-animate them, it is a little known fact that zombies have both slow blink reflexes and surprisingly sensitive eyes (as demonstrated in I am Legend). But this sensitivity also extends to irritants such as pepper – a dash of finely ground pepper in their face is so maddening to them, they will actually scratch their eyeballs out of their heads trying to stop the burning – giving me plenty of time to escape.
The inquiring masses want to know, why should they come see The Twentieth-Century Way? Give them the hard sell! This is easily one of the smartest plays I have ever worked on. It’s compelling history, fascinating narrative, and some of the best theatrical gymnastics you’ll ever see.
Thanks Jens!
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Meet Michael McKeogh from The Twentieth-Century Way

We are very excited to welcome a new face to Know Theatre’s stage for The Twentieth-Century Way! Michael McKeogh comes to Cincinnati from Chicago, Illinois where he has graced many area stages. We asked Michael a few questions. Enjoy!

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Will you tell us a little bit about your background? From Detroit, went to undergrad with The Know Theatre’s Andrew Hungerford. Played Picasso to his Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. The irony is that I PLAYED an artist but Andrew actually IS a genius.

Can you tell us about the moment you knew you wanted to be an actor? I never had that “moment.”just got involved in high school on a whim and started falling in love with telling stories.

How do you prepare for a role? That’s my dirty little secret but I’ll give you a hint: it’s more about questions, less about answers.

Tell us about your favorite role (besides your role in The Twentieth-Century Way of course). My most recent role was Lt. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine of the American civil war. With a role like that there comes a larger sense of responsibility. You are playing a version of a person who really lived so you want to honor him but also bring yourself to the part. It was a wonderful gift.

Tell us just a little bit about your character in The Twentieth-Century Way. Mr. Brown is a complicated dude. Desperate and eager, but at the same time confident and grounded. He also struggles to self actualize, which is what really draws me to him.

What has been your strangest experience as an actor? Definitely when I carried a live lamb across the stage. Nude. Definitely the strangest. Especially for my in-laws.

If you were to be declared the ruler of your own country what would you name it and why? That sounds terrifying. Much harder than being an actor. I’ll pass.

The inquiring masses want to know, why should they come see The Twentieth-Century Way? Give them the hard sell! It’s like no other show that they will see this year. 2 actors 19 roles 1 indelible ink pen.

Thanks Michael!

Click here for more information about The Twentieth-Century Way! 

Meet the Director: Kimberly Faith Hickman directs The Twentieth-Century Way

We are very excited to welcome a new guest director to Cincinnati forThe Twentieth-Century Way! Kimberly comes to us from New York City where she has worked with both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, including being the assistant director for The Assembled Parties, The Scottsboro Boys, and Clybourne Park!

Could you please tell us a little about your background?  I’m originally from Phenix City, AL – which was also known as “Sin City, USA” in the 40’s and 50’s due to it being a haven for gambling, organized crime and prostitution.

What’s you biggest challenge as a director on any given day?  Today – it’s answering the question below about 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck.  But generally, as a director I feel that the most important part of my job is to tell the story of a play by following the playwright’s intent.  In doing that, I collaborate with actors, designers, producers, stage managers, technicians, etc. and drive the group towards a very specific goal and purpose – which is putting the playwright’s intention onstage.

What has been your most rewarding experience in theatre (besides directing Twentieth-Century Way at Know Theatre of course)?  I have been incredibly lucky and have had many rewarding experiences.  It’s impossible to pick one.  But several of my favorite moments have been sitting in a rehearsal room or production meeting and listening to some of my favorite playwrights talk about their play:  Bruce Norris, Richard Greenberg, Donald Margulies.   I really love writers, so for me, those moments were golden.

Can you describe Twentieth-Century Way in one sentence?  The Twentieth-Century Way is one of the most surprising plays I have ever directed – with its muscular theatricality and unpredictable plot twists, the play will take audiences on a ride that they have never experienced before in live theatre.

If you could give one piece advice to a large group of people, what would it be?  As cliche as it may sound – life really is way too short.  Surround yourself with people whom you enjoy being with.

What is your most bizarre skill?  I don’t think I have any bizarre skills, but most people are surprised when they learn that… 1) I play the drums and 2) I have a deep affinity for rap and hip hop music

Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck? Why?  Definitely 1 horse sized duck.  I could never fight little horses.  They would be way too cute.    

Now is your chance, give us a pitch: in your words, why should people come see Twentieth-Century Way?  The Twentieth Century Way is one of the most fast paced, daring, highly theatrical, funny and evocative explorations of history that I have ever read.  As an audience member, I guarantee that it is unlike anything you have ever seen – and who wants to miss out on that?!   Buy your tickets soon!  Really – stop reading and buy your tickets now!