It is hard to believe that Kate Hewlett has only appeared in four episodes of Stargate Atlantis. One of those shows was for a single “blink and you’ll miss me” scene. It’s equally hard for us to believe that it’s been over a year since we last spoke!
GateWorld is happy to correct this oversight in this interview with the actress, in which we reflect on the journey of Jean Miller. We also discuss where Kate would have liked Jeannie to have gone had Atlantis continued to a sixth season, and updates us on all of her current projects, from Humans Anonymous to singing and movies.
After the interview, be sure to pay a visit to Kate’s personal blog!
GateWorld’s interview with Kate runs over 35 minutes. Listen online at your leisure, download it to your MP3 player, or subscribe to the GateWorld Interviews podcast on iTunes! The full interview is also transcribed below.
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net I’m David Read and I’m here once again with Miss Kate Hewlett — the lovely Kate! It is so good to be back with you again, dear!
Kate Hewlett: Well thank you very much!
GW: Now we were just talking about “Humans Anonymous.” Why don’t you tell the audience what’s going on with that.
KH: Yes, it’s not a self-help group. It’s a play that I wrote, and we’re producing it again in January in Toronto. It’s a brand new version of the play. It’s a 75-minute version and a new cast. Well, two people are the same. One of them is me, and my friend Phil is in it again. And three new people in the cast, a new director, and a very new take on it. And a fairly new script as well.
GW: Now, I remember talking to you last year. I think this is the script where you were saying that someone said, “You should make it longer,” and then you found that there was this whole part of it that you hadn’t even considered before. Is this the same script?
KH: It’s the same script. I really need a new project, huh? [Laughter] I’m milking it for all it’s worth.
GW: Well you know, perfection takes time!
KH: It’s actually gone through so many different transformations. It started as a 20-minute piece that I wrote to get into a short play festival and then I expanded it to 55 minutes for The Fringe. Then the company in New York, the Bridge Theater Company, they wanted me to do a two-act version.
So even though I thought it was finished at the 55-minute length it wasn’t and I really liked the longer version. But now it was my choice which length of time slot I wanted for the next stage festival and I went with 75 minutes because I think that’s the perfect length for it.
There were just certain things in New York that I felt were extraneous. There was an intermission that just felt like we were just selling cookies and that was the only reason why we had intermission. So we’ve lost that intermission and it’s a nice, tight, 73 or 74-minute piece now. That was a long answer, huh?
GW: No, it’s cool! I remember you talking about this and how you said that you were worried that making it longer would — I think the idea behind it was you were afraid it would destroy the original idea of it so I’m really happy that you found a way to expand it to a much greater length, larger than three times what it originally was, but yet it still rings true to what you originally wanted to make it. That’s rare, in my opinion.
KH: Yeah. It is rare. It’s interesting how much it changes in each version. My friend Phil and I, Phil Graeme, he’s done every version of the play that has ever happened. Each time we sit down for a rehearsal with a new group of people it’s a completely different show. So it’s really interesting how much it’s changed and how much I’m still finding in it as an actor even though I wrote it.
Still now, I read it and I realize that there’s part of the plot that’s missing. There’s just a little chunk of story that is missing and I still would like to go back and look at that.
It starts one day, and then you see them the next day, and then maybe a few days go by, maybe a couple of weeks. But there’s one chunk where it’s, like, six weeks later, and you don’t get any story in those six weeks, and it’s a bit odd.
GW: OK. Yeah, it makes sense then to go back and fill that in. And so this 76-minute version includes information in that gap?
KH: It doesn’t. This is a new discovery. I think the 75-minute one is the best it’s been and I’m very excited about it. But I just realized, I read it again and there’s this weird monologue where the character’s like, “I hate being disappointed.” And she just goes off on this weird thing.
I was like, “Oh that’s a completely unnecessary piece.” So I took it out, and then I realized that in this story six weeks go by. And that’s why I wrote this monologue, just to show the passage of time. So instead of that I need to tell the story. But for this particular festival we only have 75 minutes so it has to be less than that or they turn the lights on. [Laughter]
GW: “You’re done! Sorry!” It’s like the Oscars. The orchestra just starts playing and the lady escorts you off the stage. “You have to go, you have to go.”
KH: It’s true, it’s true. The less glamorous version of that, yes.
GW: Do you find it difficult to cut stuff from your work that you’re really attached to? You hear directors like M. Night Shayamalan talking about, “You have to lose your favorite scene.” Do you find that a difficult process?
KH: “You have to let the little darlings go.” That’s what people say. I love it. I’m ruthless. I’ll be in a rehearsal and I’m like, “Just cut it!” Someone asks a question and I’m like, “Cut! Get rid of it!”
There are certain things I’m attached to. It’s great, because this director will say, “Can we lose this line?” And I’ll read it and I’ll think about it and then I have to come up with a reason why it’s necessary or else it goes. It needs to go. So it’s good for me. It’s actually good to actually have fresh eyes.
GW: Why it’s necessary to keep the line, you mean?
KH: Why it’s necessary in the play. Why it’s there.
GW: Got it. You have to ask yourself that. Well you, as the writer, that’s great.
KH: Yeah. I like editing. I love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do, just go through and cut all the fat out.
GW: Well it’s a skill!
GW: Are you planning anything for the holidays?
KH: No. It’s the weirdest year because everybody’s going off to Italy to spend Christmas with my mother and I’ve been flat broke, so I’m here and I’m moving on Saturday because I am eternally moving, and I’m producing this show — well, sort of producing. It’s a co-op but it’s my company. It doesn’t even feel like Christmas, really. And my birthday’s in four days or something and I haven’t even though about that at all.
GW: Well happy birthday early!
KH: Thanks! Thirty-two. Eek.
GW: Wow! I would never have thought!
KH: Good. Good answer.
GW: Seriously! At all.
KH: Yeah, it’s weird. I’m stuck at 23, I think. Mentally.