We caught up with Actor Kaleb Alexander (BFA 2010) and he shared some intimate details about his first two years out in the profession: he’s been busy, doing mostly classical theatre, and has had to find balance in his life between work and play.
The summer after fourth year, I toured with Humber River Shakespeare doing Taming of the Shrew. While all of that was going on I was adjusting to living downtown with two of my classmates. I was thankful for my training, in that I was able to focus on the show when I wasn’t out partying to release the stress of finally being done school. When September hit it really started to sink in that going out every night wasn’t a totally feasible way of living. I was lucky enough to book a few commercial gigs but partying became more of an escape from the frustrations of working a joe job rather than a celebration. I booked Romeo in Romeo and Juliet for Shakespeare in Action and I felt honoured to play such an iconic character and terrified as this was only my first year out of theatre school and everyone sitting at the table for our first reading was so much older and experienced in life and the business. I learned a lot from that cast, about how to balance a life and a career everyday in the rehearsal room; I had to show up to these people or I would be falling flat on my face.
Once the show ended and I was faced with going back to the dregs of the restaurant and I was saved by SIA (Shakespeare In Action) once again to do a lecture series with the actor who played Juliet and we toured around southern Ontario talking to high school kids and telling them why Shakespeare is relevant. I was even flown to my hometown of Thunder Bay to do some workshops and I got to stay there for Christmas. The following four months after Christmas were slow, wet and without glory or pleasure in any way.
To break the monotony, a friend of mine who was working on her PhD had also started her own production company and had written a short film with myself and other classmate of mine in mind so we spent our free weekends for a few weeks filming that from seven at night to ten the next morning, it was exhausting but worth it. Romeo and Juliet was remounted and I was back at it and enjoying life. Partying was tamer and more enjoyable, not quite as desperate as it had begun. I was stricken with luck once again as a few characters had dropped from the SIA’s following show of A Midsummer Nights Dream and I worked on that show which thankfully was a comedy. In my time with each cast I learned about how to make connections and put myself out there to be seen and build relationships. I had made an impression on a few people I know because the artistic director for Obsidian was literally handing me opportunities like doing a Shakespeare workshop fully paid by the company and he forwarded my contact to a great little theatre company called Small Wooden shoe to work on a greek tragedy piece newly adapted called Antigone.
I have had a lot of amazing opportunities and experiences that wouldn’t have been possible had I not made great connections with my fellow classmates and Graduate class. I am still working doing theatre festivals and film and TV and loving it.