During the run of King Lear (Sep. 16–Oct. 11) we will be posting interviews with the cast to help our audiences get to know the men and women behind some of Shakespeare’s most tragic characters. What was the first role they ever played? What is their pre-show ritual? To find out, keep reading!
“Aldo Billingslea brings down the house with a tour de force delivery of old Kent’s cavalcade of insults,” wrote Robert Hurwitt in his San Francisco Chronicle review of King Lear. Before Billingslea brought down the Bruns as the Earl of Kent, Lear’s closest advisor who epically hands Goneril’s servant his behind, he entertained Cal Shakes’ audiences in a wide-range of roles including, Sweet Back and Joe in 2012’s Spunk, and Polixenes and the Bear in The Winter’s Tale and Lord Windermere in Lady Windermere’s Fan during our 2013 season. Offstage he is a Professor of Theatre Arts at Santa Clara University where he teaches acting, directs plays, and is Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. Plus it appears he knows a thing or two about raising chickens…
Where are you from?
Born in San Bernadino; lived in Istanbul, Michigan, and got to Fort Worth, Texas by second grade.
What do you think your King Lear character’s best quality is? Worst?
Worst: Lack of impulse control!
Favorite line in King Lear:
Calling someone an S.O.B.!
First experience at a play, or musical:
Third grade watching Hansel and Gretel as opera
First acting gig:
Pierre and the Lion in Carole King’s Really Rosie
Favorite role you’ve ever played:
Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man
Favorite Shakespeare play:
Do you have pets? If so, what are they?
Beckwourth the 16 ½-year-old Lab/Chow mix; Ramon the turtle; Benjamin the cat; Rose, Daisy, Tulip, Buttercup, and Chrysanthemum the chickens.
What shows/movies/books/art have you seen/read lately that have really spoken to you?
The New Jim Crow [Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander]
What is your pre-show ritual?
What is your line memorization technique?
I read the other actor’s part. A lot.
The one performance you’ve seen that you’ll never forget:
Mark Rucker’s The Taming of the Shrew at South Coast Rep with Marco Barricelli. Perfect, witty, sexy, Rat Pack, and everything rooted in the text. I saw it three times and PAID TWICE!
King Lear runs through October 11. For tickets click here.