The following interview is part of the ongoing “Meet the Cast and Crew” series for The Actors’ Group. Rebecca Lea McCarthy conducts interviews with cast and crew of upcoming productions.
Meet Timothy Dyke
Timothy plays Cal Porter in Mothers and Sons. Timothy has been in 25 (or so) plays in his life since playing Robin Hood in sixth grade. Mostly he has played small roles, although his last role at TAG was as Clov in End Game, which was one of my favorites. Other favorite local theater productions include nine plays with Joyce Maltby at HPU, and four roles at MVT since 1993. In addition to acting, I am a writer and a teacher. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and have published a chapbook of poetry with Tinfish Press. Tinfish will publish a book-length collection of his poetry in 2017.
Since 1992, Timothy has been a Punahou English teacher.
Aloha Timothy! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Can you tell our readers how you got into Theatre and how long you have been actively involved in the theatre world.
I began acting in elementary school and never really stopped trying out for plays. That said, I never thought of myself as a “good” actor. Mainly, I saw myself as acting for the experience of collaboration and being part of theater. My personality is somewhat introverted, so acting has never come easily to me. For a long time I told people that creative writing was my primary art-form and that acting was cross-training. I still believe this to a certain extent, but I am trying to be more confident about acting. I respect the art form so much, and I have learned so much from collaborators in the Hawaii theater world. As I work on this show, I am trying to set aside my insecurities and embrace the role of Cal.
What stage managers, set designers, lighting designers, producers or other theatrical influences do you revere and why? How has that person impacted your work?
I don’t want to embarrass Joyce Maltby, but I have really learned a lot from her. She makes clear that she emphasizes truth and honesty. I value truth and honesty in my writing, and in how I hope to live my life. Joyce has helped me to connect the truth-seeking part of myself to the part of myself that gets up on stage. I don’t know if I can explain what I mean, but I had an insight recently while working on this show. As a young actor, I was playing roles while also hiding the fact that I am gay. It took me 36 years to come out of the closet, and when I did theater as a closeted man, I thought of a role as a way to hide. By playing other roles, I was covering up my true self. As I came to terms with my personal truths, and as I worked with Joyce Maltby (and others), I figured out that acting is not really about covering — it is about uncovering. Now when I am working on this play, I am conscious of opening up more than hiding. Again, I don’t know if that makes sense, but this is what I think about when I think of what I have learned from Joyce: I have learned that acting is a process of peeling away layers of falseness to reveal the truth underneath.
- What is the most important thing you do when preparing for a show?
For me the most important thing I can do in working on a show is to trust the process. In the first weeks I am daunted by the memorizing, the lack of clarity, my own tentativeness, and other difficulties. I know, however, that this is all part of the process. When I was in college, I heard one of my theater major friends say, “I don’t worry; I just work.” Even though I can’t say I never worry, I do understand that the best way to face my fears is to trust the director, the designers, the playwright, the other actors, and the process. By trusting the process, I learn how to trust myself.
When not doing theatre, what do you do?
I’m a poet. I am interested in how words create or distort reality. Poetry is an intimidating art form, and I have several friends in the theater world who tell me they hate poetry, but I try to be okay with all that. For me, writing poetry is not completely distinct from creating theater. The page is a kind of stage. I have been fortunate to have been published by Tinfish Press out of Kaneohe, Hawaii. My chapbook (A chapbook is to a full collection as a one-act is to a full-length play) was published in 2016 and is called “Awkward Hugger.” My book is coming out next year and is called “The Homosexual Agenda.” Both address issues of gay teen suicide which is a topic that breaks my heart and which compels me to strive to write with compassion, precision and love.
What is it about this play that speaks to you personally? – this question is for actors and crew
I love this play so much. I am a gay man who is approximately the same age as the gay man I play in the show. As I work on Mothers and Sons, I learn so much about myself and my community. It has been such a pleasure to work with the cast and crew on this show. I feel privileged to be able to help tell this story.
What “truth” do you think the audience will walk away with after seeing this show? – this question is for actors and crew
Families come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, conceptions and configurations. Everyone deserves love. The things that shame us are often the things that we should be most proud of. These are some truths I derive from the show, and I hope we can communicate these and other truths to the audience.
And finally, the quick crazy question for this production: If you were to visit on Mars and an ancient Martian invited you for dinner, what might be the main meal?
I love to eat. I love to cook. I try to be open to new foods as long as they are well prepared and essential to the local cultures in which I find myself. I’d tell the ancient Martian to make me the food she learned to cook from her grandmother, and then I’d dig in.
Well played Mr. Dyke! Thank you for talking to our readers and I look forward to seeing you as Cal Porter in Mothers and Sons!
TAG, you’re it! The world needs theatre and TAG needs you!
Mothers & Sons runs July 8 – 31st. Purchase tickets online athttp://www.taghawaii.netor 808-722-6941