Friday, April 5, 2013

An Interview with Matt Koester

A graduate of UW-Milwaukee, Matt Koester makes his MCT debut as Gussie Fink-Nottle in JEEVES IN BLOOM.
Tell us a bit about your character, Gussie Fink-Nottle:
Gussie Fink-Nottle is a schoolmate of Bertie and lives in a small town of Linconshire because he just can't handle the city life of London. He also has a pond in his yard where he can study newts. That's right. Newts. Gussie's character is described in great detail even before he sets foot on stage. He is described by Bertie as a freak of nature with horned rimmed specs and face like a fish. He is a noted newt lover who has devoted his entire life to studying the amphibians. On top of that, he can't utter a single word to the girl he loves because of his extreme shyness. When it comes right down to it though, Gussie is such a sweetheart and a character you just want to root for.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of performing in such a comedic play?
Nothing beats the joy of making people laugh. The ultimate goal of this play is to have people come to the theater and for two hours forget all about their problems and issues, get sucked into the reality of the play and just laugh. It's the best feeling ever. It's been a difficult process for me, but comedies usually are. I have to learn to just be honest and truthful and let the comedy come organically from the true and honest moments that happen on stage. I also have to learn just to have fun, cause if I'm having fun, than the audience will too.

Anything fun you’d like to share with readers about JEEVES IN BLOOM, rehearsals, etc?
4 words. Best Snack Table Ever.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
Attending UW-Milwaukee was such an amazing experience because I was able to work my way in to the professional theater world with the close ties that UWM has with the community. One of those ties was Milwaukee Shakespeare. In my second semester, I was able to get an audition for the company and landed a small role in AS YOU LIKE IT. I had such an awesome time working with all these wonderful actors and learned more about the ins and outs of acting in that rehearsal process than I did in my first two semesters at UWM. I wouldn't have given that experience up for the world.

What do you like about being a theatre artist in Milwaukee?
I read an article in on the top ten theater towns in the US. Milwaukee was on the list. I think it was number 7. Being back after a 5 year hiatus from the Milwaukee community makes me understand exactly why this great city made the list. During the entire time away from the Milwaukee theater scene, I realized just how special and unique it really is. I missed it. The talent that Milwaukee has is unprecedented and support that it gets from its patrons is amazing. It's so great to be back in an environment that is so very helpful and appreciative of good theater.

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