Actor Spotlight

Versatile Dallas actress is stoked to throw punches in her latest show

Versatile Dallas actress is stoked to throw punches in her latest show

The Thrush & The Woodpecker
Diane Casey Box, Carson Wright, and Kristin McCollum in The Thrush & The Woodpecker. Photo by Matt Mrozek
Dallas actor Kristin McCollum
Dallas actor Kristin McCollum. Photo by Kelsey Edwards Photography
Kristin McCollum in Almost, Maine
McCollum in Almost, Maine at WaterTower Theatre. Photo by Mark Oristano
Jack and Jill at Second Thought Theatre
Kayla Carlyle and McCollum in Jack and Jill at Second Thought Theatre. Photo by Mark Oristano
The Thrush & The Woodpecker
Dallas actor Kristin McCollum
Kristin McCollum in Almost, Maine
Jack and Jill at Second Thought Theatre

Kitchen Dog Theater is making its first attempt at repertory theater, with Steve Yockey's plays Blackberry Winter and The Thrush & The Woodpecker. Not only that, but the company is doing it in the temporary space of Undermain Theatre.

Actor Kristin McCollum is part of Thrush's cast, adding to her impressive resume yet another challenging role, as a mother whose college-age son unexpectedly returns home. Before the second Yockey show opens on May 27, McCollum took the time to fill out our survey of serious, fun, and sometimes ridiculous questions.

Name: Kristin McCollum

Role in The Thrush & The Woodpecker: Brenda

Previous work in the DFW area: In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) and The Seagull at Kitchen Dog Theatre; Well, Gulf View Drive and String of Pearls at Echo Theatre; On The Eve at Theatre Three; August, Osage County and Almost Maine at WaterTower Theatre; Jack and Jill, Wonder of the World, and Earth and Sky at Second Thought Theatre.

Hometown: Dallas (ish). I was born in Roswell, New Mexico, but moved here when I was 1.

Where you currently reside: Dallas

First theater role: Snow White in third grade — does that count?

First stage show you ever saw: First one I can clearly remember seeing is Richard Harris in the Camelot tour in Dallas. Blew me away.

Moment you decided to pursue a career in theater: Seeing Raul Julia in Man of La Mancha, at the National Theatre in D.C. I had just gotten a degree in International Studies and was about to start working in that field. After seeing the show, I called my mom crying and told her I wanted to come home and act (thanks for saying yes, mom).

Most challenging role you’ve played: Lisa Kron in Well. It was a one-woman show (with other people in it — that’s how it was billed), and there were so many monologues directed toward the audience, who I could see. It took me out of my comfort zone in a good way.

Special skills: Fluent in French, chicken-raising, children-raising, hell-raising.

Something you’re REALLY bad at: Gauging distance. Or depth. Or height. Basically anything involving math or physics.

Current pop culture obsession: Hamilton (duh). We saw it in February, and it was all that.

Last book you read: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This book made me laugh and cry more than any book I’ve ever read. Please read it.

Favorite movie(s): Star Wars (IV, V, VI, VII), The Goonies, My Neighbor Totoro, Stage Door (the original), The Producers (the original). We also just saw Captain America: Civil War and loved it.

Favorite musician(s): Man, here I’m lame. I basically listen to show tunes and NPR. I love Home by Hovercraft. Also anything old-school '80s, à la Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, even Falco.

Favorite song: This is hard! There are so many songs in the world. I’ll go with "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf. Because dang.

Dream role: I don’t really have a dream role. My theater journey has been super weird and fun, with stuff coming to me for reasons that weren’t clear, until I was actually up onstage living those characters — so I pretty much just leave it up to the universe. Bring it, universe.

Favorite play(s): Rhinoceros by Ionesco, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza

Favorite musical(s): I will say it again, please don’t groan: Hamilton, Matilda, Wicked, Fun Home, Avenue Q, Book of Mormon. Thanks to Allison Tolman, I now am a musical junkie.

Favorite actors/actresses: All the British ones. Kidding — I love all of them, worldwide.

Favorite food: Raclette, which is basically melted stinky cheese on potatoes and pickles. Yum.

Must-see TV show(s): Breaking Bad, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica reboot, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, House of Cards, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Girls. OMG this season of Girls! I could seriously go on all day. TV is my bae.

Something most people don’t know about you: I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia, when the civil war broke out, and I had to be evacuated. Also, I once ate only pancakes for a whole month straight. After that, I couldn’t eat them again for about 10 years. And it wasn’t a dare. Just my OCD.

Place in the world you’d most like to visit: All the places. Seriously. I want to take my kids everywhere. Next up may be Holland.

Pre-show warm-up: A whole bunch of vocal stuff that makes me look like a crazy person. And then some stretchy stretching. I basically just steal from the Kitchen Dog warm-up. They are serious about it. 

Favorite part about your current role: She gets a fight scene!

Most challenging part about your current project: The fight scene!

Most embarrassing onstage mishap: I don’t want to say I’ve never had one, 'cause then I would be seriously jinxed. But … I’ve never had one [knocks wood repeatedly for an hour].

Career you’d have if you weren’t in theater: I would hope it would be something artsy — though I can’t draw at all. My non-theater job is a voice-over actress with the Kim Dawson Agency. That is my absolute dream job. 

Favorite post-show spot: On the couch watching stories with my two daughters.

Favorite thing about Dallas-Forth Worth: We are one artsy, blue city, y'all.

Most memorable theater moment: You probably mean onstage, but I’ve only mentioned it twice, so I’m gonna say it again: seeing Hamilton. My 14-year-old daughter basically violently sobbed the last half of the show and then turned to me and said, “This was the best day of my life.” This, from a teenager! It’s not often you get to gift your kids with something so memorable.


Kitchen Dog Theater's production of The Thrush & The Woodpecker plays at Undermain Theatre May 27-June 25.