Scott J Kyle

The Self Isolated Artist

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Joe Szekeres

I was encouraged to enter the Twitter universe by the publisher and editor of OnStage Blog. I was a tad reluctant at the beginning to start using it as I was uncertain if Twitter would truly be of benefit personally and professionally. I was assured by my editor and publisher that, yes, it would be.

And my publisher was right. I have made contacts with some professional theatre companies and individuals whose work I have admired tremendously and with whom I wanted to keep in touch.

Some individuals have also tracked me down.

One of these individuals is Scott James Kyle. When he started following me on Twitter, I’ll be honest and say I had no idea who this man was. When I read about him on line and in his brief Twitter bio, I was quite impressed with Scott’s credentials as an actor, both in stage work and film. Since Scott and his wife Karen live in Scotland, I didn’t recognize some of the television series except one – Outlander – where he played Ross. I know Outlander is a series of novels. When it appeared on Netflix, I thought I’d better start to watch it. I still have to fulfil that commitment.

What strikes me as both out of the ordinary yet very humane is Scott’s manner of communicating with his followers and his fans. Just from his Twitter verse alone, he values people first and foremost and likes communicating with them. Very out of the ordinary for celebrities, but from what I read about Scott online in his Twitter feed and his website, he and his wife travel round the world meeting many people. He’s not one to shut himself off from communication with his followers and fans.

I didn’t know if Scott would agree to this interview as he has over 730.1 K followers alone and he follows 660K individuals. Again, I thought, “What the hell?” and took a chance for an interview.

I was pleased when the answers to the questions showed up in my online mailbox for Twitter. Thanks, Scott, for taking the time:

1. It has been just over two months right now that we have been under this lockdown. How have you and Karen been doing during this period of isolation and quarantine? How are your immediate families doing?

Everyone is safe and well at the moment, so we are blessed, and we are looking forward to getting together when we are given the green light by the powers that be.

2. Were you involved in any side projects before the pandemic was declared and everything was shut down? Were you involved in the planning stages of any new projects? What will become of these new projects that were in planning stages?

Yes, I had a new movie that I was supposed to be filming in March before going into rehearsals for a theatre show that was to be touring in April and May of this year. I’m hopeful these projects will be able to go ahead when the lockdown ends, and things can return to some degree of normalcy.

3. What has been the most difficult and/or challenging element of this period of isolation for you and for Karen?

I think we’ve been okay with the lockdown actually and the restrictions to movement. We just got round to lots of work that we have been putting off in our home and garden.

The most difficult part of the lockdown has been not seeing our friends and family. Karen and I are very sociable, so it has been sad not to be able to see everyone.

4. What have you two been doing to keep yourself busy during this time of lockdown?

Karen and I have been going on long walks or cycling to places that we have never been to before in our own area. We’ve also spent a lot of time on DIY projects and our garden.

I’ve been working a few days a week with a local charity so that gets me out of the house and makes me feel like I am contributing something during these challenging times.

5. Any words of wisdom or sage advice you would give to other performing artists who are concerned about the impact of COVID-19? What about to the new theatre graduates who are just out of school and may have been hit hard? Why is it important for them not to lose sight of their dreams?

“Infinite patience produces immediate results” – this is a mantra that has served me well over the years and is helping me to get through this lockdown.

6. Do you see anything positive stemming from this pandemic?

There will be lots of positive things people will take from this pandemic. One of them will be a newfound appreciation for their friends and family whom everyone has missed so much (this includes Karen and I). Another will hopefully be a realisation that we have been taking a lot of things for granted.

7. In your estimation and informed opinion, will the European performing arts scene somehow be changed or impacted as a result of COVID – 19?

It will be very difficult for all venues to come back from this, but within those challenges is also a huge opportunity to right a lot of the wrongs in our industry, and give more performers a chance to have a career in the arts. Some of those careers might be an outdoor/online performance driven work which I think will be a part of the industry moving forward.

8. Many artists are turning to streaming/online performances to showcase/highlight/share their work. What are your thoughts about this format presentation? Any advantages to doing this? Disadvantages? Are you participating or will you be participating in this presentation format soon?

It’s great to see people are continuing to be creative even during the lockdown with the streamed performances and workshops. I have been asked to do workshops online and to be part of various online filming projects.

However, I’ve decided to use the lockdown to spend more time with Karen as we have been busy over the past few years, and I really wanted to focus on her.

Since the lockdown has continued, I have agreed to do interviews like this one and I’ve done some cameo videos, but that’s about it.

9. What is it about performing you still love given all the change, the confusion and the drama surrounding our world now?

To me, acting and story telling are very spiritual processes and experiences for the performers and the audiences. If anything we need these connections now more than ever. I am looking forward to seeing how the creative minds of the artistic community respond to the new challenges. I think the future is bright for the arts.

“Inside the Actors’ Studio’ was a weekly televised American program where its late host, James Lipton, used to ask the following ten questions to his guests at the conclusion of his interview:

a. What is your favourite word? Namaste

b. What is your least favourite word? Impossible

c. What turns you on? Spending time with others

d. What turns you off? Negativity

e. What sound or noise do you love? A scratch at the window from Jess, the neighbour’s cat.

f. What sound or noise bothers you? Babies crying.

g. What is your favourite curse word? The “F” bomb.

h. What profession, other than your own, would you have liked to attempt? Motivational speaking.

i. What profession would you not like to do? Being a soldier and killing people.

j. If Heaven exists, what do you hope God will say to you as you approach the Pearly Gates? “You’re late”

You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottJKyle1.

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