Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 4: Kate Karczewski (Poppy) by Joel Markowitz

This is Part 4 in a series of interviews with the cast and director of 1st Stage’s production of Noises Off. Meet Kate Karczewski.

Kate Karczewski (Poppy).
Kate Karczewski (Poppy).

Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Noises Off?

Mostly because it’s a fantastic show with a wonderful history of making audiences laugh. I really can’t think of any reasons why I wouldn’t want to be involved in such a great show at a great theater.

Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to her?

I play Poppy Norton-Taylor, the Assistant Stage Manager. I relate to Poppy’s desire to make things run smoothly. I want everyone to get along and do their jobs well. Unfortunately, I can also relate to Poppy’s minor meltdowns when situations get stressful, but I’m working on that.

What is the play about from Poppy’s point of view of your character?

For Poppy the play is all about getting through the rehearsal process and performances of Nothing On without completely losing her mind. She just wants to actors to show up and do their jobs without forgetting lines or killing one another. She would also like Lloyd to declare his undying love for her. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

What do you admire most about your character and what do you not admire about her?

I admire her desire to just get through the show even when things are completely crumbling around her. I think that throughout the entire play she really does mean well for everyone and wants things to go off without a hitch. I don’t admire her choice in quality of skirts.

What did you learn about yourself as an actor while rehearsing and performing this crazy show?

This being my first show after college, I learned a lot during this process. I discovered how great it is to learn from other actors just by watching them work. I learned how important energy and focus are when you’re doing five shows a weekend. This experience really has been invaluable to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for all that it’s taught me.

What is the nuttiest thing that has happened in rehearsals and on stage?

There have been plenty of nutty things that have happened, but I think that just adds to the charm of the show. During early rehearsals there were some line mix-ups that were pretty hilarious. I think that when you do a show as wild as Noises Off, you’re always kind of waiting for the next nutty shoe to drop.

Kathleen Akerly, Kate Karczewski ,and Zachary Fernbok in 'Noises Off.' Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Kathleen Akerly, Kate Karczewski, and Zachary Fernbok in ‘Noises Off.’ Photo by Teresa Castracane.

What are you doing to keep up your energy?

Primarily I just focus on the fact that each audience that walks in the doors is equally deserving of a great show. I’m also just excited to be on stage and I like to remind myself that I’m getting to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to and that usually does the trick.

What character is so much like you and why?

I like to think that I have a little bit of all of these beautifully dysfunctional characters in me. I strive to keep everyone centered and together like Belinda, but I can be a little spacey like Brooke. I drink like Selsdon and I hate blood like Freddie. I feel like every time we do the play I find a connection to another one of the characters.

What is the toughest scene for you and which scene is your favorite?

I think that Act II as a whole is both the toughest and my favorite. It’s difficult because there is so much going on and so much to focus on, but that also makes it fun. I think the unfolding chaos in that act demands a lot of energy, but it gets a great response from the audiences and that’s incredibly rewarding.

What are you doing next on the stage after Noises Off closes?

I don’t have anything planned at the moment, but I’m hoping it will be something even half as wonderful and fun as this show.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Noises Off?

A smile and the burning desire to tell all of their loved ones to come see this show!


Noises Off plays through December 29, 2013 at 1st Stage in Tysons Corner— 1524 Spring Hill Road, in McLean, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 854-1856, or purchase them online.


Amanda Gunther’s review of Noises Off on DCMetroTheaterArts.

Interviews with the director and cast of Noises Off by Joel Markowitz.
–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 1: Director Doug Wilder.

–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 2: Mario Baldessari (Selsdon). 

–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 3: Matthew Pauli (Lloyd). 

–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 4: Kate Karczewski (Poppy).

–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 5: Blair Bowers (Brooke).


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