Meet the Artist: Kim Boler

HUMAN TERRAIN” is back with performances tonight, following a slew of wonderful reviews and a Jeff Recommendation, and we saw no better time to sit down with Kim Boler, the actress playing Mabry in our production, to discuss the character, her artistic home, and more.

BNT: To start off, how would you describe your character in “Human Terrain”? In what ways do you think you’re similar or different from her?

KB: Mabry, and the other female characters Jennifer has created in this show, are strong, educated, and most importantly, realistically flawed. With all of Mabry’s training and schooling, she has an inherent fear of one of Muslim’s culture’s most identifiable icons: the veil. Despite this fear, she has a deep down need to understand the culture. She quickly learns that in order to study a culture and religion, more is required of the heart and mind than a degree. I don’t think I’m as studied as this character, but I relate to wanting to chase down an inherent fear in the hopes of possibly erasing it. I also love Mabry’s humor! We both use humor to express ourselves, but also to disarm… to get people talking and sharing information with her. It’s important to her to connect with whom she’s talking to, even if it’s to disagree.

There are many in Chicago who may be more familiar with your comedic work, especially as a member of the Factory Theatre. Are there differences in how you approach a role like Mabry vs. how you approach funnier fare?

Not as a big picture. I use the same tools and break down a character in the same way. I take on each character independently and allow the story, any dramaturgy, and my own choices to feed who that person is. I might say the timing might be approached differently, but even with Mabry there are dramatic moments that would fall flat if the timing wasn’t specifically constructed. With comedies, I do feel a lot freer to take on exaggerated movements or ways to hold my body versus this show, which is a way more realistic and grounded character.

Speaking of Factory: can you tell us a bit about the company, and what it’s been like to work with them over the years?

THE FACTORY IS AMAZING! They’ve been around for 25 years and write their own shows from scratch. They were the first show I saw in Chicago when my husband and I first moved here, thanks to a mutual friend who we’d known since our outdoor drama days, and his wife was and is a company member. They just looked like they were having fun onstage telling a story and working with each other. And then I got to know them and weaseled my way on stage and finally into the company. I just recently popped the cherry on our brand new space in Rogers Park at 1623 W. Howard St. in Chicago (shameless plug!).

And finally, in 100 words or less: why do you do theatre?

I love telling stories! I always have. I was very good at entertaining myself as a child with my own imagination, but I quickly transitioned to telling stories to an audience as “Pinocchio” when I was seven, and haven’t looked back since. “Human Terrain” is a beautiful story that is tragically relevant. It’s not a story that is necessarily trying to convince you of anything, but more so giving the audience a perspective that they might never encounter, from the perspective of one woman. At the same time, Jennifer has successfully written a beautifully strong, flawed lead female character (all the female characters are AMAZING!) that is relatable. I also like breaking a few rules, and theatre allows me to do so, creatively…LIKE I’VE DONE WITH YOUR 100 WORDS OR LESS RULE – BOOM!

“HUMAN TERRAIN” continues performances tonight at The Voice of the City, 3429 W Diversey Ave. All Tickets to the Chicago Premiere are Pay-What-You-Can. If you would like to support Kim and the rest of the artists who make up our woman-centric fourth season, please consider making a donation/joining our season-long fundraising campaign to support our artists. Find more information here:

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Spenser June 23, 2016 Uncategorized