After seeing KINGDOM CITY at La Jolla Playhouse, I asked actor, Ian Littleworth, if he would be interested in an interview. He was kind enough to oblige. Little did he know it would be a forty five minute phone call! Ian is a generous actor who had great warmth in his portrayal of his character. He was captivating and compelling to watch. Instead of babbling on about his performance, I’ll let him tell more!
The Playbill Collector (TPC): At what age did you start acting?
Ian Littleworth (IL): When I was five my dad had this big video camera. We would make home videos of “Ninja Turtles”, “Fievel Goes West” and so forth. My sister and I would play roles and my dad would film as well as be the narrator.
TPC: When did you know you wanted to be an actor or at least that you had the acting bug?
IL: When I was in kindergarden, the sixth graders did a Shakespeare play. I was blown away that they could do it and all the other kids at school were there too. I mostly performed in musicals growing up but when I got to college, I focused on acting and that’s what I got my degree in.
TPC: Currently you are playing Luke in KINGDOM CITY at La Jolla Playhouse. Tell us about your character.
IL: Luke is smart, funny, reads the Bible religiously (no pun intended) but he also reads Psychology Today. In short, he is well-rounded. He wants to help people whatever way he sees fit.
TPC: Luke is very conservative. How did you prepare for the role?
IL: I had a really surprising experience with an Evangelical Minister in the past. We worked together as educators. He never spoke to me about religion until one day when was setting up for his Halloween show. I went and he tried to pull me into this fire and brimstone thing. He had a bad upbringing and so he sprung back into a very strict, conservative, Christianity. In preparing to play Luke, I didn’t want him to be like that. I didn’t want Luke to be a far away, distant, fanatic. He is silly, smart, caring and hard-working. I listened to sermons and I found ways to reach secular audience members as well.
TPC: Since this is a world premiere play, were there lots of changes to the script?
IL: Yes, we’d get line changes even through previews. We would perform at night, rehearse the new material during the day and then do another show at night. One day we got three new scenes! The changes stopped two days shy of opening night.
TPC: Was that nerve racking?
IL: It was exciting but terrifying! If I get too comfortable, I lose sight of what I’m trying to accomplish. For this show, we had a writer who was forcing us to stay on our toes. It was great!
TPC: You’re interested in TV and film work as well. What do you like doing the best?
IL: Theatre excites me in a way nothing else I’ve worked on has. The limitations of theater make the story telling aspect so important. There’s a lot of control as an actor. We are out there every single night and every night it’s about what I’m doing. It’s something I get to try to improve on each night.
TPC: What are some of your dream roles?
IL: Guildenstern in ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD . Reverend Hale in THE CRUCIBLE . Edmund in KING LEAR. The Judge in SWEENEY TODD.
TPC: Who is someone you’d love to work with?
IL: Martin McDonagh. He’s my favorite (living) playwright.
TPC: Any big plans after KINGDOM CITY closes?
IL: I’m looking forward to jumping back in to auditioning for new projects, but I’m also looking forward to catching up on things I haven’t had the chance to do since I started the show, like playing lots of volleyball, watching football, and getting some reading done. I’ve been reading a book about John Wilkes Booth and his older, more successful brother, Edwin. Maybe I’ll finally be able to finish it now! And I’m a member of Antaeus Theatre Company in Los Angeles, so I’ll be working on stuff with them.
KINGDOM CITY is running now through October 5th. For more information check out: http://www.
For more information on Ian, follow him on Twitter: @ianlittleworth