Leading up to the opening of our fifth show of the season, Other Desert Cities, we’ll be introducing you to the cast. A story about the fictional Wyeth family – lead by a mother and father highly regarded in old Hollywood circles – and daughter Brooke Wyeth’s memoir that may bring to light a dark secret that no one wants revealed. The Guthrie Theater characterized the play as “a searing comedy with banter that dazzles and decimates, making it one of the most satisfying grown-up plays of the decade.” Filled with a unique family of characters, we’d love for you to meet the talented actors behind them.
Next up, let’s meet dad Lyman Wyeth, played by Kevin Walsh.
Playhouse: In what ways do you relate to your character?
Kevin Walsh: I am a father of four fully grown children who are each finding their own unique paths in the world. You never stop being a parent. And you never stop being somebody’s child.
I love the uniqueness that each family unit represents. I love the playfulness and teasing of the Wyeth family portrayed here that are clearly based on having shared so many experiences and stories and events. In a sense, each family has their own language and customs. What fun to represent this with the wonderful actors with whom I am privileged to share the stage.
PH: In what ways are you changed from this story?
Kevin: You can not be reminded too often that you don’t truly know another person’s experience. This play is kind of a slap in the face reminder of that truth.
I always say that in doing a play you create a unique community that never was before and never will be again. Especially in a small cast show you really need to trust each other, you really rely on each other and so you develop a closeness. In this show, where we are portraying a family and where we are dealing with difficult thoughts and emotions, it is probably even more the case that we grow close to each other. It all feels very real, very immediate, very true.
I think that the stories and experiences that we share with others, our common history, especially with our families, really help to define us as persons and give us our first, and perhaps deepest, sense of who we are. I am grateful for my own family of origin and all that I learned in this first school of relationships.
PH: What’s been the most difficult adjustment while playing the father in Other Desert Cities?
Kevin: Mostly just that it is emotionally draining. It has been challenging to find the many different levels of feeling and intensity. I am so thankful that it is such an amazingly good script! I think it plays very true to life, at least to my own experience of the give and take of relationships. And it is funny and ironic. And it causes one to think of one’s own stories. I hope and expect that the show will provoke some great conversations.
PH: Any special thanks or shout-outs?
Kevin: I am so deeply appreciative to and for Christine Seitz for all that she has done for the community of Duluth, the theatrical community and the broader community. Thanks, Christine, for your great passion and energy and for insuring that the entertainment produced by the Duluth Playhouse is a good mix, with different offerings for different tastes and sensibilities, and is always of great quality and a rewarding experience for all involved. And thanks to Kate Horvath and staff for insuring the same is true of our offerings for younger people.
Also, many thanks to all the family “behind the scenes”—the designers and the builders, the stage manager and crew and the office staff. Again, we are a community that works together to provide a rich entertaining experience for our audiences and all of the players and tasks are critical to the success of each project.
Thanks always to my wife Jean for her constant support and encouragement and patience.
Finally, thanks to my kids, Joe and Emily and Elise and Micah, for continuing to patiently teach me how to parent adult children.
Check back weekly to meet the rest of the cast until Other Desert Cities opens on May 29th. You can grab your tickets by calling 218-733-7555 or by purchasing online. See you at the show!