My Irish Mother's Graduation Gift: A New Pair of Teal Cowboy Boots.
"I think you could get some use out of these."
I packed up Ginger, my little red car, a generous hand-me-down from my older brother, and drove away - watching the black Gallows frames and Copper Mines of my hometown fade away in the rearview mirror. I was moving farther west from beautiful Butte, Montana to study the Craft of Acting at the University in Missoula.
Missoula, with all her smiling, splendid trees, and her welcoming artistic community, quickly became my new home and provided magnificent opportunity. I studied in studio and lecture during my days, and put my new craft to practice at night playing many wonderful roles from the Greeks, to Shakespeare, to the Existentialists, Expressionists, Modern American Classics, Lorca, Russian Classic, Musical Theatre, and new experimental roles as well.
When I wasn’t on campus, I was off playing and performing somewhere relatively nearby with my closest theatrical allies in both The Shoppe Comedy Improv Troupe and The Brewery Follies. Or, I was running around to various locations to shoot films with the Graduate Media Arts students. My summers were spent creating some fifteen Musical Theatre roles at The Bigfork Summer Playhouse, in the magical atmosphere of ‘The Little Theatre by the Bay’ on Flathead Lake.
My Father’s Graduation Gift: A New Car.
“If you’re gonna be zippin’ all over California, you’re gonna need a safe car to getcha ‘round.”
I packed up Tweety, my little silver car, and drove away from Missoula. This time I was headed even further west, though far further south, to attend The Graduate Acting Program at The University of California, Irvine.
To say that UCI was a ‘fantastic experience,’ would be a gross understatement. Simply said, these three years were a challenging, complete submergence and dedication to studying the mysterious Craft of Acting under the careful, committed direction and guidance of some of the most magnificent Masters of our time. I am endlessly grateful for my years at UCI.
Here I sit, writing to you from my computer in sunny Los Angeles, my newest home and current adventure. Los Angeles, in all its perplexities and puzzles, has miraculously proven to be an ideal home to presently create and practice my craft. I enjoy running the labyrinth of the city daily, while playing with various theatre companies and filmmakers around town. I love all the creative artists and business folk, who continually test themselves, striving to further their experience in a life delicately balanced somewhere between business and art.
Thank you to all the people who have generously provided my person and my dream with so much love and support. Thank you to the Masters and the Artists who have chosen to push me to greater levels of experience and practice. Thank you to the members of the industry who took a chance on me as a newly released artist early on, and to those who now allow me to contribute my work as a continuing professional.
A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MY AMAZING MANAGER, SARAH E. BAKER!!
*This little bio was created in memory of the late GREAT Dr. James D. Kriley, my first great Mentor away from my hometown, who taught me more than I’ll ever know.
“You’re a willful Son-of-a-Bitch Karen Jean. A willful Son-of-a-Bitch. And I love you for it.”
Thank you Dr. Kriley