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Kate Loconti of After Miss Julie

The title character of August Strindberg’s 1888 tragedy, Miss Julie, is one of the great roles of Modern Drama. Miss Julie is an upper class woman whose relationship with a servant ends with her presumed suicide. Patrick Marber’s play, After Miss Julie, first produced as a television play in 1995, relocates the action of Strindberg’s original to the kitchen of an English country house in July 1945, on the night of the British Labour Party’s historic election victory.

To play the coveted central role in their production of After Miss Julie, The Irish Classical Theatre Company has enlisted the talents of Kate LoConti. The company is describing LoConti as a “guest artist.” She may be a guest to them, but even if she now lives in Chicago, LoConti’s appearance in After Miss Julie, is really a return home. She has been seen numerous times on Buffalo’s stages over the years: at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, at Theatre of Youth, at Buffalo United Artists, at the New Phoenix Theatre. She’s been Lady Macbeth, she’s done Jean Genet’s The Maids, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and The House of Bernarda Alba, and dozens of other titles, all in Buffalo.

While preparing for her role in After Miss Julie, LoConti answered a few questions for Artvoice.

You’ve been out of town for a while. Where have you been and what have you been up to?

LoConti—I’ve been living in Chicago for the past four and a half years, and have had the great fortune to work at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, and Shattered Globe, where I’m an Ensemble Member. I’ve also been teaching at Acting Studio Chicago.

What have you missed most about Buffalo?

LoConti—My family, friends, Polar Seltzers, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Sue’s N.Y. Deli, and the Blue and Gold.

Why an adaptation of one of the world’s most perfect plays?

Lo-Conti—To describe After Miss Julie, playwright Patrick Marber uses the word “version,” which I really like. He says, “I have been unfaithful to the original. But conscious that infidelity might be an act of love.” The bones of Strindberg’s classic are inarguably timeless. Marber modernizes the time, place, and language, and therefore updates the story’s ghosts. This modernization does not squash the characters (as it often can), but rather, lets them breathe in a new way, highlighting their perpetuity. There was a New York Times article not too long ago, that cited four different art forms stimulated by Strindberg’s Miss Julie. It’s such a rich piece, that it continues to provoke the imagination of artists from many disciplines.

How familiar were you with Miss Julie before this role, and what has this experience been like?

LoConti—The haunting psychology of Miss Julie has made it a coveted role for me for quite some time, but it doesn’t come around too often. I am grateful that ICTC is producing this, and absolutely elated to be a part of it! We have such a solid team, from Fortunato Pezzimenti’s excellent direction, to our bang-up designers and crew, to my fellow actors, Chris Evans and Anne Roaldi-Boucher, who absolutely nail it. It’s been a dream.

How long will you be here and what are you doing next?

LoConti—I’m also teaching in the Graduate Program for UB’s Department of Theatre and Dance while I’m here, so I’ll be around on and off until the beginning of May. Upcoming projects are in the hopper, but yet to be disclosed. Next up for me is enjoying the summer—it’s bound to come sometime, right?

Anything else you’d care to share?

LoConti—It’s been wonderful to be home, and experience all of the sparkling new changes. Buffalo feels good. City of Light indeed.