This is Kearsten Johansson’s debut with The Toronto Irish Players.
Theatre Credits: Best Actor; Footloose (Center 2000), The Good Doctor (Sue Miner), Best Supporting Actor; Macbeth (Center 2000), Red Coat (Melissa D’Agostino), Strictly Murder (Village Playhouse), James and the Giant Peach (Center 2000), Check, Please (Sears Drama Festival), Shakespare in Action and Shakespeare on the Platform. Film Credits: Real Dreams Award; Six Seconds (Art Driven Community), Exposed (LEFT Film Festival & TFS Film Festival), Lucky Penny (Niagara Integrated Film Festival), The Box (TFS Film Festival), Man & Knife (TFS Film Festival), Ready or Knot (48 hour Film Challenge).
What drew you to audition for the role of Imelda in Elvis’s Toenail?
I first stepped foot on Irish soil when I was 14 and immediately felt at home there. I’ve since felt a strong connection to my Irish heritage. The history of Ireland is the history of my family, their lives; the struggles and the triumphs, the tragedies and the love stories, oh the love stories. When I read Elvis’s Toenail I was brought to fits of laughter and floods of tears. I knew from the moment I read the final words I wanted to be a part of bringing this story to life. Art is made to inspire, educate and move people. Elvis’s Toenail moved something in me and I hope to do the same with our audiences each night.
What’s the best role I’ve played as an actor and why?
I feel truly blessed for every role I get to take on. For each character holds new opportunities to discover and play. There is one role in particular that stands out for me at this time. I recently performed in a film called The Blink of an Eye. I had a similar reaction to this script as I did with Elvis’s Toenail. The film is a tragically uplifting story based on true events. It follows the journey of a young girl in high school, diagnosed with cancer and given an expiry date on life. With her supportive friends, family and loving boyfriend by her side, she is given an extraordinary final month of life. I had recently lost a friend of my own from film school and felt a huge responsibility and honour when asked to portray her.
How would you describe the play to someone who knows nothing about it?
I don’t want to give away any spoilers but what I think should be taken away from the play is how important the progression of women’s rights has been in creating our modern society. Education and the freedom to make our own choices have been instrumental.
What’s your favourite part about community theatre?
My favourite part would be the friendships made during the process. The artists involved in this show, along with the many from former community theatre experiences, are the most caring, supportive and fun-loving people. Going to rehearsal is the highlight of my week and I thank everyone involved for this positive work environment.