An Interview With Vincent Klosterman

In this week’s paper, I regaled you all with my thoughts on Sinclair Community College’s production of “All Childish Things,” a play based around “Star Wars.”  This particular show starred Anthony Dell’Aria as Dave Bullanski, Vincent Klosterman as Max, Joseph Herzog as Carter and Rachel Charles as Kendra.

Last Wednesday, I caught up with Klosterman and we chatted about various topics. These included his thoughts on playing Max, his history with the “Star Wars” franchise and how he came to join Sinclair’s theatre program.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MP: So, Vincent, what brought you to Sinclair Community College?

VK: In high school, I did a career tech program and with it came a $3,000 scholarship for two full years. That was mainly the only influence I had to come here.

Plus, I knew that out of the schools in the area, this was the most cost-effective and had a good theatre program, so that was everything I needed.

MP: Oh, for sure. They’re definitely cost-effective.

VK: Oh, yeah.

MP: What do you want to be when you grow up? Would you say you would want to do theatre?

VK: I definitely want to stick with theatre. When I came in, I wanted to do mainly theatre technology, which is all of the backstage work. But, at the end of last semester, I ended up switching to double majoring as Theatre Performance and Theatre Technology.

Once I move on, I’m going to focus mainly on theatre performance, and I’m deciding if I want to stick with live theatre or if I’m going to branch out into TV and voice acting as well. That’ll just come later on with more training.

MP: I see. Since you’re so interested in doing theatre, what attracted you to it?

VK: I always liked it when I was younger, but I just loved watching it then. During my freshman year of high school, one of my friends walked up to me after our band class and basically told me I was going to show up for a backstage meeting, where we met with our technical director.

I got sucked into it from there, and haven’t left since.

MP: You play Max in “All Childish Things.” What sort of person is going to love this character?

VK: (laughs) The person who will love Max will be the people who can identify with anxiety, which will be any young person who comes and sees this show.

Max is the kind of character that, like, he wants to do this, he wants to have all of this stuff, but he can’t get it out of his head that something could very well go wrong with it.

I think the people who identify most with Max will be the people who want to go out and step out of their comfort zone, but are just like, “I don’t know if I can do it.”

That’s definitely how I felt going into “All Childish Things,” so it’s been a cathartic role, to say the least.

MP: What do you love about your character?

VK: I just love playing him. I love playing up the anxiety. I love finding all of the different levels.

We’ve had three performances, in addition to our majors night here, and every night, I find something new.

I love exploring Max as a character. I love digging into his background, figuring out each night, like, how he would feel about certain situations or how he would feel about how someone said something.

I just love Max, because I don’t think it would be as easy with the other characters. Obviously, to have a well-written play, you’d have to have it where each character has to respond to the other.

It’d be so easy to hide Max in an anxiety shell and, like, that’s all he does, with a few moments where it’s written in that he’s not anxious. So, I love not doing that, and exploring him and making him human.

MP: What do you hate about him?

VK: Oh, what do I hate about Max?  

I think I hate what I love, and that would be his anxiety. It’s so inhibiting, like there’s so many things that if the whole scenario was real and I was an outsider watching this, I would laugh at Max.

Definitely Max in the first act, I would think he was just a pushover, super weak, couldn’t do anything with his life.

I think that’s definitely what I hate most about Max is the inability as the stuff I love about him goes. He really is, in the first act, very easy to go one-note with.

Nothing on the playwright, because, like I said, it was also just as easy to shy away from that and give him depth. What I hate is definitely the inhibiting anxiety factor that he has.

MP: What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to taking on this role?

VK: At the beginning, the biggest challenge was lines, because, as I discovered through my acting classes and the rehearsal process, I have a very bad habit of paraphrasing lines.  

The challenge in the beginning was getting the lines down word for word. My very first line note page was almost a full page long, but it was nice to see that go down as I got better.

Then, a couple of weeks before we opened, the biggest challenge shifted from lines to fight choreography, because Max and Kendra, at the end of the play, have a fight. I am not, as one might say, a physically fit man.

I remember our first fight choreography, when we first ran through the whole thing. I had to ask for a five minute break because I was sweating profusely and couldn’t catch my breath.  

It went from mental line memorization to a physical “try not to die on stage.” It’s still not something that I quite have the hang of, because I’m not gonna lose weight and be physically fit within three weeks, but it’s been doable.

MP: Why did you decide to audition for “All Childish Things?”

VK: I had to! No, um…  (laughs) …we are required, but even if I’d seen this in the community, I would have done it. It’s good experience, and I actually went in hoping for Dave.

Even if I had gotten Max somewhere out in the world, I would’ve still loved it. I read the script during our fall musical, and I remember sitting backstage during rehearsals and chuckling to myself, because I thought the script was very funny.

I knew that I wanted to be a part of it because I wanted to be a part of bringing what I found funny on the page to life and making it funny for people who might not understand “Star Wars” or would read the script and not catch the jokes.

Judging by our audience’s reactions, I think I’ve done a pretty good job at that.

MP: I’d agree. Were you a fan of “Star Wars” before “All Childish Things?”

VK: I was, yes, almost by proxy because the rest of my family was, but I am nowhere near the level of nerd that these main characters are. I definitely am going to be seeing the new “Star Wars” when it comes out. I’ve seen everything except for “Solo,” because it came out when I was busy.

I’ve seen almost all of the movies. I’ve read some of the books. I’ve dabbled in some of the comics. I’ve played a good majority of the video games I can get my hands on. Yeah, I’d say I was a nerd.

MP: What’s your history with the “Star Wars” franchise?

VK: I am definitely about as casual of a fan as you can get while still knowing more in-depth stuff. There have been a few questions where it’s like “what about this?” and I’ve searched to see if some of the Extended Universe stuff had covered it.

But, outside of movies and video games that I’ve played, I do not know much about “Star Wars.” I couldn’t tell you who Yaddle is.

MP: What’s your favorite “Star Wars” movie?

VK: It would either have to go to… I almost said “Revenge of the Jedi” because it’s a line in the play… “Return Of The Jedi” or “The Last Jedi.” My top three definitely go those two and then “The Force Awakens,” but my top one’s definitely a tie between “Return Of The Jedi” and “The Last Jedi.”

MP: So, without giving anything away, what’s your favorite line of dialogue in the production?

VK: Hmm, my favorite line of dialogue. It would have to be one of Chris Goetz’s lines.  I’d have to think of which one I like the most.

MP: Oh god, he was so funny!

VK: Oh my god, he plays his character so well! Probably his “I’m going to the store!  Spencer’s out of his Hill’s Multi-Care Urinary Care with chicken-dried cat food!” I just, I love watching him backstage when he does that.  

I’ve never seen somebody who was not on stage say their lines with such animation. It’s probably because he doesn’t have to play a character outside of his voice, but I wish I could record him and show the audience what he does backstage. It is something to behold.

Final Thoughts

Sinclair’s “All Childish Things” was also something to behold. Lucky audiences who witnessed the gravelly voice of Christopher Goetz playing Dave’s mother or the hilarity of Max and Kendra’s fight were in for quite a sight.

You can read my review of the show in this week’s edition of the Sinclair Clarion newspaper!

Maxwell Patton

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