Actor Spotlight: Kellie Raines
Actor Spotlight: Kellie Raines
This month, actor Kellie Raines will return to SOSS to read selections from our anthology, Twenty Twenty. Listen in as our casting director Jessica Laskeytalks to Raines about why she loves performing, the difference between virtual and in-person and how visual art informs her theater-making.
Jessica: Kellie, you started acting in high school and eventually earned your BA in Dramatic Art from UC Davis. You’ve since performed in community theaters all over the region. What do you love about performing?
Kellie: Acting is so special, so temporary and ephemeral. There’s an immediate connection you have with a live audience that you cannot recreate if (the performance is) taped, recorded or filmed. The magic happens in the moment, and being in the moment is what’s so special. An exchange with the audience happens. I’m drawn to performing because I’m a shy extrovert—it’s a way to express yourself with more liberty and protection. I’m not hiding behind a character or script, but in some ways it gives me permission to not be shy, to use extroversion within my talent but not necessarily have to bare the Kellie part of it.
Jessica: Over the past two years, everyone has had to pivot to virtual. How has that affected things in your experience?
Kellie: (During the day) I work for PBS KVIE and one of my roles is associate producer for Studio Sacramento. Before COVID, it was an in-studio interview discussion program … but we went to remote producing using Zoom (during the pandemic). That required the use of different technical skills and presentational skills. I learned how to pivot—as most people did in the world—to create the same program using a different platform, which involved setting up shots, different technical capabilities and presenting based on the resources we and our guests had. Because of that experience, I started getting asked to help theater companies like Main Street Theatre Works do Zoom-based productions.
I also did Stories on Stage Sacramento over Zoom. (Raines read Sands Hall’s story “Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology” in summer 2020.) Virtual performing is certainly not as pleasurable—there’s an unsaid exchange of energy in the room (when you’re live), even if you’re just having a conversation. (Virtually), you don’t get those social cues or pick up on how the audience is receiving the performance and be able to adjust … Virtual performing can be important, effective, moving and entertaining, but the actual pleasure is diminished—and pleasure and connection is why we do it.
Jessica: You’re also a prolific visual artist. How has that skill informed your performing and vice-versa?
Kellie: Because I started with theater, I’m very narrative based—I love storytelling. As I’ve gotten more skilled in visual art, I try to tell more stories and have a narrative, even if it’s subjective for whoever sees it. The other way around, I feel like theater has informed my visual art in that I like composition and stage pictures. That said, now that I’m doing more visual art, I’m looking more at negative space onstage and stylistically I’m playing with different color palettes.
(Kellie is also a published author. One of her stories, "Half Moons in Wood" appears in the Twenty Twenty Anthology.)