Sep 14

Getting down with Dave Kelly – the actor chats about True Love Lies

by Jenna Shummoogum · 1 comment

Dave Kelly missed our phone interview. He called me three hours later, “it’s ten thirty right?” he said with a chuckle, “I got delayed, and I was like ‘Jenna is going to kill me!’”  I’ve never met Dave Kelly formally. But I know of him. Doesn’t everyone? The former host of breakfast television who has recently been performing in local theatre is well known is our city.

When I found out that he is the lead actor in Alberta Theatre Project’s True Love Lies, I jumped at the chance of finding out his thoughts on the role. The play, written by Brad Fraser, is described as smart, sexy and provocative.  It tells of a family dealing with the father’s male ex-lover unexpectedly coming back into their lives and the challenge of keeping that family together. Kelly plays the lead role, the struggling father named Kane.

“I think what’s most interesting to me, is that it scared the sh*t out of me,” he said when asked what drew him to the play. “The show and the characters tend to get in people’s faces, so I thought, I’d better do it!”
Kane is a complex character who wants to keep people happy, and when he finds he can’t do that, he lies. And then all his lies catch up with him. “That’s what I did on Breakfast Television for years,” Kelly quips. Did I mention that Dave Kelly is a joker? It’s why his last role with ATP was so well suited for him. He played the Cat in the Hat in Seussical™ The Musical, where he improvised an auction scene. “They are identical!” he exclaimed when prompted about his last role. “It’s the same thing, except for the sex, that’s different. And there is swearing. I swore a lot more in Cat in the Hat.” Getting a little serious he adds that this is not a family show. “You wouldn’t bring your kids to this one. It’s kind of the opposite in some ways.”

This play does present its challenges for Kelly. There are fifty scenes in the play and they are filled with quick dialogue and a wide spectrum of emotions. “I kind of have to be in a state of trying to cover up the fact that I’m panicking, so I can’t run around and panic,” Kelly explains. “One of the lies drives my wife out of the house and as she’s trying to leave, I have to seduce her. So it’s not just hey! I feel bad, let’s talk this through. It’s hey! I feel bad, maybe we should go to bed.”

Kelly talks seriously about some of the dominant themes in the play though, “I want audiences to take away a conversation about what is a real family. This is a family going through a horrible scenario, like all of us have and this one family is struggling to figure their way out of it,” he says. “That’s all it is. With a lot of swearing and sex.” It seems like a perfect fit for ATP audiences.

“She’s incredible, especially for a person like me,” Kelly states when asked about working with the director Kate Newby.  He also commented about his fellow actors with pride, “everyone fits their roles so well.”

He was back to joking and laughter when asked what he was personally looking forward to in the Calgary theatre season. “I’m looking forward to my first produced play at Lunchbox Theatre!” he exclaimed. Great, Dave. How about something you’re not in? “Kate Newby is in Blithe Spirit at Vertigo Theatre, so I’m excited to watch that.”

I concluded the interview by asking if he had any questions for me. “If you find that something is reading flat, and you want me to say something funny, call me back,” he quips.

I think we’ll be just fine.

True Love Lies opens at Alberta Theatre Projects on September 23rd. Tickets are available online or at the door.

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