Venus in Fur Curtain Calls: Chris Kipiniak

by:  at 01/09/2014

Name: Chris Kipiniak

Role: Thomas

Hometown: I was raised in Ridgewood, NJ and currently live in New York City.

How are you like your character?
More than I'd like to admit. Ugh. Like Thomas I am insufferable, embarrassingly susceptible to flattery, utterly humorless about my own artistic vision, and, as a heterosexual male working in the theater, have things pretty easy. But, on the plus side, I think I'm a little more self-aware. Another thing we have in common is that we are both know-it-alls (did you know that 68% of all actors are?).

What is your most memorable acting role and why?
That's tough. I was involved in the development of, and for many years performed in, a show called Metamorphoses directed by Mary Zimmerman. It took place in a pool of water, I played Zeus (among other characters), and I got to perform some pretty racy choreography in a very beautiful, albeit disturbing, scene. So that was certainly memorable. Another close contender is a character I played named Charles Winn in a show called Charles Winn Speaks . . . in New York about two years ago. Like Metamorphoses, I was involved with it during its development and saw it through to full production, and that process is always rewarding. But I was the main character in the show (most of it was Charles in monologue), and I did it with a Russian accent (which I thought sounded good, but who knows?), and the story covered some emotional territory that I don't often get to play and which, at the time, had considerable resonance for me. I don't know if anyone who saw it found it memorable, but I won't forget it.

Best seduction technique?
See, that's a tough one to answer: I could go glib and rakish, saying something like, "The one they don't notice until the next morning . . . " but then I'd sound kinda sleazy, and like I didn't understand or appreciate 99% of what Venus in Fur is about. on the other hand, if I say something self-consciously sincere like, "Just listen . . . be present . . . be yourself . . . " then no one will want to see the show at all, because it's a very boring answer, but, even worse, it sounds even MORE sleazy because the eye-roll-inducing earnestness just sounds like a tactic. Plus, any seduction technique's success is predicated on the object of seduction being unprepared for it.

Who is your favorite mythic god/goddess and why?
Hades. He's sort of overlooked, I think. People forget him. The other gods share dominion of the overworld — with Zeus (king of the gods, who wants that kind of responsibility?) ruling the sky but having to contend with his tempestuous brother Poseidon, ruling oceans; and then Demeter dealing with the harvest and the Earth; and Hera, while goddess of women specifically, dealing with humanity. But Hades has his own place, the underworld. His rule there is uncontested. He can do what he wants. And, of course, everyone and everything because subject to him in the end. That, to me, says patience, a quality which I aspire to have some day. 

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Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!


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