It’s not easy being green, but New York born theatre sensation Kyle Timson has taken to playing Shrek like a duck to water – or rather an ogre to mud – in the award-winning Broadway hit, Shrek the Musical. We catch up with the loveable star of The Kingdom of Far Far Away before he takes to the stage at the Venetian Theatre, Macau.
How do you channel your inner ogre to play Shrek on stage?
Shrek, at his core, is just a bullied man. Yes, we embellish him for the story and make him big and green, but at his core, he’s just a guy who looks and acts different, and is shunned for it. I was not very popular growing up. I was a big kid who liked to do theatre instead of play sports. I was bullied a lot so I know a thing or two about what Shrek’s going through. That’s how I connect with the character.
Ogres get a bad rep. How do you plan to change this?
The writing does this for me. Shrek is not a mean guy. He comes off that way because he has his guard up at the beginning. But Donkey and Fiona break down his wall and we see the caring, sensitive, and funny sides of Shrek before long.
What’s it like to play an animated character on stage?
It’s a lot of fun. You get instant recognition when you come out on stage dressed as Shrek. Acting in the costume and makeup can be challenging. You have to over gesture in some ways to make even subtle choices come across to a big audience.
How long does an ogre makeover take to complete?
It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to put the neck up makeup on.
Your costume is quite hefty, how do you cope with moving around on stage?
The costume and makeup are very well designed to feel like extensions of your own body. It makes moving around feel pretty normal once you get used to it. Again, you do have to over gesture a little to make your acting choices come across.
We adore your big ogre ears! Do you have exceptional hearing?
Haha, sadly I don’t have exceptional hearing, which can make singing with your ears covered quite challenging. There are mesh holes in the makeup foam to allow for hearing, but sometimes it can be difficult to hear the band.
How is Shrek the Musical different from the film?
Shrek The Musical is everything you love about the movie and more! You can expect to see all of your favorite characters from the film, as well as all the incredible spectacle you see at a Broadway show. Flashing lights, big scenery, incredible costumes, and a beautiful score that was written for the stage. The live music really enhances the story because we’re able to illustrate how the characters are feeling in the big moments and provide the backstory that the movie doesn’t give you. Action, comedy, and romance – it’s all there.
So what’s your favorite song from the show?
I love the song “I Think I Got You Beat”. It’s a song where Princess Fiona and Shrek are arguing about who had it worse as a child. Finally, at the climax of their yelling, Shrek accidentally farts! What ensues is a full out fart and burp battle between Shrek and the Princess, which results in them finding common ground. It’s usually one of the audiences’ favorite numbers because of how hilarious it is.
How would you describe your ideal woman?
My ideal woman is just like Princess Fiona; someone who isn’t afraid to be herself and who loves me for me.
And where can we expect to see Shrek roaming in Hong Kong?
I really want to go to The Peak, I’ve heard the views are incredible – almost as stunning as The Kingdom of Far Far Away!
Catch Kyle in action in Shrek the Muscial which runs until August 7 at The Venetian, Macau! Tickets range from $180 to $780, and are available to buy here.
Read more! Spend Five Minutes With some of Hong Kong’s most colourful characters.