Formerly published in The Other Press. Mar. 12 2013
By Elliot Chan, Staff Writer
Not every graduating student at Elgin Park Secondary had an opportunity to direct a school play. But Katie Doyle did—and she remembers it well. “It was an interesting experience,” she says, carefully searching for the words to describe the strenuous and pleasurable task. “I’m glad my first chance to direct was with a bunch of [eighth and ninth-graders] and not professionals.
“It was a great learning experience for all,” she adds and smiles.
Although Doyle is currently a full-time theatre student, she didn’t always consider the performing arts as a career choice. Up until grade 12, she was considering a profession as a marine biologist. But after taking a large part in extra curricular activities in high school, the bug bit and she developed a lasting passion for all aspects of theatre, and refused to limit herself in any area. “Right now, I want to do anything and everything to get into the business, including tech-work,” she says with an ambitious gleam. “I love reading and writing. I would love to be a writer and be a part of the publishing world. I definitely want to pursue that as well.”
Whatever her circumstances end up being, Doyle knows that it will be a rollercoaster ride, just like the life of her character in Blue Window, Libby. “She’s just trying to keep it together and get back in the groove,” she explains Libby’s predicament (without any spoilers). “Her childhood was very scandalous, despite coming from a rich family. Something really good happens, and something really bad happens and… it completely shatters her world.”
The character of Libby and Doyle herself are two very different people. But that is what gives her a thrill in acting: by unconsciously discovering the thoughts and behaviours that relate to the character. “In rehearsal I catch myself in a ‘Katie’ moment, and then be, no wait—that is Libby, we just have the same reaction. It’s interesting finding those moments.”
But it’s not all pleasant; there were times when Doyle found herself panicking. In a musical performance of Chicago, she played a reporter with her hair in a nice little bun. The scene was to end with a dance number, and while dancing, Doyle felt the butterfly clip in her hair weakening and then giving up and dropping to the floor. “I hear it on the ground,” she says, with a sense of fright still in her voice to this day, “and I still have to keep dancing, but I was glancing around… ‘Where did it go? Where did it go?’” Unable to find it, she continued with the scene, making it onto the spotlight for her lines. “I was just freaking out,” she said, “because I knew there was a big dance number coming up next.” Fearful that her castmates would step on her clip, she ran off the stage and found the stage manager and told her the clip fell. “There was a moment of blackness,” she said, “I don’t know how she found it, but nobody died.”
Crisis was averted, but there would always be uncontrollable circumstances and struggles. With her stability in consideration, she tries to focus on the aspects she can control: pleasing herself and the people that care about her. “They are a little bit hesitant,” said Doyle, describing her parents’ reaction to her pursuits. “But they know how much I love it and how passionate I am. They know that it is what I want.”