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Saturday, 19 October 2019

Interview with Eileen Koteles

Eileen Koteles of Atlanta, Georgia will be gracing the stage of Artistic Civic Theatre studio stage right here in Dalton performing as Dr. Ruth Westheimer in the play Becoming Dr. Ruth which will be directed by Judith Beasley. Eileen has been acting for quite a while and is looking forward to the performances.
I got to meet her recently and we did an interview.

Introducing Eileen ...

What do you love about your life right now?
The people in it!  I do feel like I’m at a great stage in my life. I have a close-knit family, wonderful friends, I’m doing theatre, I’m in love, and I’m a grandmother!!

How long have you been acting and what do you love about it?
I’ve been acting for 47 years. I was a member of Equity for 10 years (1977-1987) I love the process, rehearsals, learning lines and finding ‘moments’. Like the moment you’re NOT acting but reacting as your character.

 Was there a particular actor or film that inspired you to act?
 I started out wanting to be a dancer and loved watching Juliet Prowse, Chita Rivera, Shirley MacLaine, and Gwen Verdon.

 Eileen as Dr. Ruth and her Stehaufmaennchen doll. Knock it over, and it bounces right back up, like Dr. Ruth herself.

 You’re going to be playing Dr. Ruth in Becoming Dr. Ruth at Artistic Civic Theatre in February directed by Judith Beasley, how did you hear about the play?
Judith called me and asked if I would be interested in doing the show. She thought it might be a long shot since I lived so far away.

You’re driving from Atlanta, why are you willing to come to Dalton to act in the show? I know that’s over an hour one way to get here or more depending on where you live.
First I said no... the time commitment, the drive, and I have a full-time job.  But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  This was the perfect opportunity to do a meaningful piece of work with such a talented woman and a dear friend. I’m so glad I said yes!

How are you feeling about becoming Dr. Ruth and how has the process been so far learning the part?
I have loved learning about her life, and surprisingly the words are staying in my head because her story is very captivating.  Every day I go over lines, certain pages or start from the beginning.  

What have you done to prepare to learn this particular role?
I’ve watched a lot of Dr. Ruth interviews and YouTube! And I had the privilege of talking to Dr. Ruth. It was a short conversation, but I learned that even now at the age of 91 she is very strong, to the point and wants to make a difference in the lives of others.

Eileen as Dr. Ruth telling one of her animated stories. 
Tell me what has been challenging about the part and what you’re loving about it.
Memorizing an entire show. She changes subjects often to keep things light and to stay positive and upbeat.  That can be tricky.  I love her eternal positive attitude. It’s so empowering.

Describe yourself in one word.
Energetic.  Maybe this is why I’m drawn to the personality of Dr. Ruth.  

Who are your biggest supporters with your acting?
My supporters are those who really know me, family, and close friends.

Eileen as Dr. Ruth..she was a sharpshooter in the Haganah.

Tell me three fun facts about you.
I love to dance; I love polka dots; I use to be a Lemon Twist Showstopper!

The holidays are fast approaching, do you have a favorite one?

One last thing, I share motivational quotes with my readers, do you have one you can share that has inspired or encouraged you in tough times?
My father used to say “When in doubt, throw a party!”  In other words, LIVE!

The performance dates for the show are February 14-16 and February 21-22, 2020. I know Judith and Eileen would love to see you there. Maybe, I can interview Judith next! 

About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →


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