Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog


JOHN KOOI (T. STEDMAN HARDER)


JOHN KOOI (T. STEDMAN HARDER)

John Kooi

Actor John Kooi should be another familiar face to MRT audiences. A few seasons ago he appeared in Dinah Was, one of the most successful shows in the 30 year history of MRT. Going further back, John also appeared in As You Like It and Betrayal. Locally, he has also appeared at Foothills Theatre in Worcester, MA, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, and The Jewish Theatre of New England, and is a graduate of the MFA program at Brandeis University. After he arrived for rehearsals for A Moon for the Misbegotten, I had the chance to ask John a few questions about his career and work at MRT.
 

When did you start acting, and what made you decide you wanted to become a professional actor?

I actually started acting later than most people. It wasn’t until college that I auditioned for a play and got cast. Then I took an acting class and was bitten hard by the Theatre Bug. I studied a semester abroad in Dublin and London and had the opportunity to see some exceptional theatre. But it was experiencing a couple of shows at the Royal Shakespeare Company that made me decide to pursue acting as a career.
 
This is your fourth time on stage at MRT. What keeps you coming back and how has the theatre changed since your first appearance?

I keep returning to MRT because of the people and the material. It isn’t often that we get a chance to work on scripts by writers like Pinter or O’Neill. MRT is one of the few places that provides that opportunity. MRT doesn’t seem to have changed all that much. New faces and a coat or two of paint.
 
Can you share your thoughts on your character, T. Stedman Harder? What is his role in the play?

Harder represents outside influences and the world that the primary characters don’t inhabit. He’s one of “them.” Primarily, he functions a comic relief in the play.

 

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