She’s coming in for a landing…in a big way. Boeing Boeing is a show about a bachelor and his three finances which is comical in it self. However, his witty, opinionated and intuitive maid, Bertha, steals the show. Kate Shoemaker takes over as Bertha in a production that takes the ridiculousness of farce to sky-high levels.
She attributes her ability to really bring Berthe to life was “by seeing the amazing stuff the rest of the cast was doing”. With an ensemble cast, the biggest part for Shoemaker in getting ready is the work you do at rehearsals with the cast. Shoemaker spent time prior to that working on her accent and committing her lines to memory. This is the time where so digs in to own the character.
“Berthe is such a great character and I think it would be difficult to find anyone for which she would be the "wrong" part. But I think she is the "right" part for me because I see a lot of myself in her,” Shoemaker shared during a recent interview. “Bertha gets enjoyment out of observing everything that’s going on around her. When she says, ‘I am a cheerful soul at heart’ she's not lying. She lives in a hectic environment and she loves every minute of it.”
Shoemaker also enjoyed every minute of this production. She had the unique opportunity to work with her father, Josh Shoemaker, who directed the play and her brother, David Shoemaker, who plays the character, Robert.
“David is so much fun to be with onstage, especially in this role. You never need to worry about David not making an entrance or dropping a line. You just know he is going to be spot-on every time. He has fantastic instincts too,” said Shoemaker.
Instincts and the ability to trust the process is a big thing in creating the right chemistry with a cast. Shoemaker finds it refreshing to work with a director who just assumes that his actors are going to do wonderful things. That’s exactly how she describes her father’s directing style, “He has fantastic comedic ideas and gives them to us but he also allows us to come up with our own. As he said in the beginning of the rehearsal process, he gives us the ideas and then gets out of the way.” Shoemaker also attributes her father’s easy-going and relaxed nature to creating the right atmosphere for a quality production to develop – especially with so many rehearsals just about timing.
Rehearsals were vital and plentiful in this production. The reason – timing, it was everything. Shoemaker said, “We had a lot of rehearsals that were just us opening and closing doors at the correct time. Dad calls them "in-outs": the moment when someone is exiting at the exact moment someone else is entering. A show like this doesn't work unless you know for a fact that everyone is going to be spot-on perfect every night and they always were. Without the brilliant sense of both comedic and physical timing that everyone in this cast has, this show would not work.”
The show definitely does work and Shoemaker and the entire cast put in there all to make Boeing Boeing a wonderful production.
Shoemaker’s next big production is her wedding. She’ll take a short break to enjoy her nuptials and then back on a stage to take on another role. She also makes time to support others in the Baltimore theater community. “There are always amazing shows going on and we all go to support each other. There is nothing I like more than going to see the people I've worked with onstage!”