Actress plays tricky friendship in upcoming musical

by Ryo Miyauchi

Kimberly Doreen Burns is an actress starring in San Diego State’s production of the musical “Little by Little.” Burns plays Woman I, a girl who ends up falling in love with Man I (Cody Walker). She has played in national tours before and is currently a graduate student for a master of fine arts in musical theater at SDSU.

The Aztec: What part of your character, Woman I, interests you?

Kimberly Doreen Burns: What’s difficult about her is that she’s a very selfish person and she’s interested in her needs and wants. So it’s a challenge to make her likeable to the audience and still get them to sympathize with her story.

TA: How is it working with the other actors?

KDB: Great! We have great rapport with each other. The three of us are really close friends, so rehearsing and working together has been going smoothly.

TA: How is it working with a cast of just three people?

KDB: I love it, actually. I’m used to working with very large casts and it’s nice to have a contrast to that in an intimate setting. On the other side of that, the rehearsal process is maybe more difficult because you have that much more material to learn. For the entire show you are basically onstage, so it’s a lot of songs and lyrics to learn as opposed to another role in a different production. You may only have six songs; here you have 15.

TA: What were some of the most challenging moments while rehearsing for the musical?

KDB: I think the challenging thing, for me, in an acting aspect is that I’m more of a classic actress, and this is very contemporary. So I feel like it’s about making the dialogue still very understandable to the audience and try to not to be so technically perfect and make it more conversational. That’s challenging for me because that’s something I’m not used to.

TA: There are songs where all three characters are interacting with each other and it sounds like a challenge.

KDB: You have to be aware of their lines, too. The audience has to hear their lines and your lines at the same time. It’s a very self-aware show. You have to know what’s going on.

TA: What’s your favorite song to sing in the musical?

KDB: “I Ought to Cry.” It’s one of my solos. I think it opens up who Woman I is as a person because she is self-absorbed and not emotionally connected to her fiance or her friend. She’s telling herself that she’s supposed to be crying even though she doesn’t really feel like it. It’s quite an emotional paradox to go through.

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