Meet the Cast of CHESS – Kate Wylie is Svetlana!

SvetlanaWhat is your role in Chess? I am playing the character of Svetlana, Anatoly’s (the Russian Chess Champion) wife. She faces a lot of struggles including being a woman in communist Russia and dealing with a dying marriage. Her future is very uncertain through much of the production.

What is your background in theatre? At Walterdale? I grew up doing theatre – musical theatre in particular. I am a graduate of the MacEwan Theatre Arts Program, although in those days it was Grant MacEwan College. When I moved back to Edmonton from Toronto after a very long hiatus from theatre, I did my first production at the Walterdale – Nine. I then had another opportunity to work with the amazing Kristen Finlay and Sally Hunt again on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with ELOPE theatre. Since then I have been away from the theatre completing my MBA. It feels great to be back at  Walterdale!

What brought you out for this show? What drew you to it? I grew up listening to the LP of the original concept album of Chess. I am definitely showing my age when I say it was an LP! It has always been one of my favourite musicals. The music is fantastic and full of interesting layers. In spite of the fact that it is such an amazing show, it rarely gets produced. Because of that, I had to jump at the chance to do it. Lucky for me, our lovely director was willing to accommodate my rather crazy schedule, which included a study tour in Europe during the rehearsal period. Thanks again for that Kristen!

Why do you think audiences should come see this show? What do you think they will take away from it? The music first and foremost! There are such great tunes in this show. The show also provides an interesting journey back into the years of the Cold War. The 1980’s do not seem like they were that long ago but the world has changed an absolutely incredible amount since then. It’s fascinating looking back.

Chess is a Board Game… What’s your favorite Board Game? Why? Got any funny game-playing stories? My favourite game to play is Cribbage. I grew up in rural Saskatchewan, where everyone plays Crib and my great-grandmother (G.G. we called her) taught us all to play, usually around the tender age of 8. She was ruthless! She would steal your points if you didn’t count them right. Needless to say you learned how to count properly pretty quickly! My husband and I also played Crib on our first date….maybe that sounds lame and I should be ashamed to admit it but it was sweet and fun. I won both games – he’ll claim he let me win but knowing how competitive he is there’s no way that’s true!

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