In the Spotlife: Carla Kaiser Kotrc of 'A Skull in Connemara'

Carla Kaiser Kotrc. Cody Schuyler Photography. Cody Schuyler Photography.


Carla Kaiser Kotrc plays the lovely MaryJohnny Rafferty in Martin McDonagh’s dark Irish comedy, ‘A Skull in Connemara,’ through April 30 at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden. Cody Schuyler Photography

  • Home: Arvada
  • High school: Manual High School
  • College: Western State Colorado University
  • What have you done for us lately? I played Mae Peterson (Mama) in Bye, Bye, Birdie for Performance Now
  • Carla Kaiser Kotrc. The Last Session.Twitter-sized bio: I am a graphic artist by day, actor by night, grateful wife, extracurricular creativity enthusiast, horrifying cook, devoted procrastinator, passionate adventurer and loyal friend. 
  • Instagram handle: @foruaprincess
  • What was the role that changed your life? Playing Vicki in The Last Session (pictured at right). I’ve had the great honor to have played the role twice. The first time was in 1999, directed by John Mandes at The Shop in Denver. I was in the midst of getting divorce from my best friend.  After seven years of marriage, my then-husband told me he was gay. In The Last Session, Vicki’s husband revealed his homosexuality during their marriage.  Going through all the emotions of that character’s journey really helped me come to terms with my own failed marriage. And how to let go of the dream of wedded bliss, while still retaining the original friendship. My ex-husband remains a very special person to me, and I so admire his strength and honesty in living a full and meaningful life true to himself.  Like me, he has found his forever partner, and my pilgrimage through The Last Session both times allowed me to discover more of myself. I will always be grateful.
  • Meryl StreepIdeal scene partner: I would simply adore an afternoon with Meryl Streep. I have always admired her unparalleled talent, unapologetic outspoken nature and masterful ability to become someone else so completely. I would speak with her about her process when researching a role, and just bask in the glow of her. Of course, I will have probably peed my pants upon meeting her, so the first few moments will probably be awkward.
  • What is A Skull in Connemara all about? This play is the second chapter in Martin McDonagh‘s Leenane Trilogy (along with The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West). He gleefully mock sentimental Irish stereotypes with bleak tales filled with hilarious miscreants, misfits and misanthropes. A Skull in Connemara introduces us to Mick Dowd, who for one week each autumn is hired to dis-inter bones in crowded sections of the local cemetery to make way for new arrivals. But as the time approaches for him to dig up the bones of his own late wife, rumors about his possible involvement in her sudden death seven years before resurface. This play is a blasphemously funny whodunit complete with flying skulls and bloody hatchets.
  • Tell us about the challenge of playing Maryjohnny Rafferty: She is a cantankerous, bingo-obsessed nag, town gossip, and poteen (moonshine) mooch who is comfortable with her lot in life. It’s a challenge to be held in the boundaries of a different place and time, and of someone so completely opposite of myself. But that’s acting, right? In the end, I’m a dedicated ball of nerves who is always grateful for the journey.
  • What do you hope audiences get out of seeing this play? I hope they laugh – it’s absurd, dark, dramatic, and feckin’ funny! And I hope they admire, as I do, the incredible talent of my castmates, as well as the production team. Billie McBride, our director and the True West Awards’ 2016 Colorado Theatre Person of the Year, doesn’t miss a thing. Her eye is keen and her instincts are masterful. And a special shout-out to Jonathan Scott-McKean, whose set, light and sound designs for this production send you immediately into the exact environment for our story. It is absolute perfection from the mossy cemetery to the small cottage where Mick resides.

  • More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

  • What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? Actor Tim Fishbaugh and I drive through downtown Denver once a month distributing sandwiches, bottles of water and new socks to the homeless and needy. We are approaching our third year of service.  Actually many people do know this about me, but what most people don’t is that I do not have a uvula. Yep, uvula-less – that’s me!
  • What’s one thing you want to get off your chest? I am a devoted viewer of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. Therefore I would like to answer his famous 10 final questions:
    1. A Carla Kaiser Kotrc 160What is your favorite word? Grateful.
    2. What is your least favorite word? Hate.
    3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Something I’ve never seen, eaten, or done before. 
    4. What turns you off? Misinformed tweets by people of great responsibility who should be the most informed. It’s childish and divisive.
    5. What is your favorite curse word? Well since my parents-in-law are probably going to be reading this I’ll say, FECK! (Which is really just the sassy, Irish version of my real favorite curse word.) 
    6. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of my husband’s laughter. It’s so full of life and utter joy.
    7. What sound or noise do you hate? An animal in pain.
    8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Standup comedian, writer for Saturday Night Live or wildlife photographer.
    9. What profession would you not like to do?  White House Press Secretary.
    10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?: “We cleared your browser history.” (Rim shot.)

  • Miners Alley Playhouse’s A Skull in Connemara: Ticket information

    • Written by Martin McDonagh
    • Directed by Billie McBride
    • March 24 through April 16
    • Performances 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. most Sundays (1 p.m. March 26 and April 30)
    • 1224 Washington St., Golden
    • Tickets $17-$27
    • Info: 303-935-3044 or

    Cast list:

    •  Logan Ernstthal as Mick Dowd
    •  Carla Kaiser Kotrc: MaryJohnny Rafferty
    •  John Hauser: Mairtin
    •  John Jankow: Tommy

    More ‘In the Spotlife’ profiles:
    Meet Lauren Bahlman of Wide-Eyed West’s theMumblings
    Meet Mark Collins of And Toto Too’s Lost Creatures
    Meet Carley Cornelius of Colorado Springs TheatreWorks’ Constellations
    Meet Emily Paton Davies of Miners Alley Playhouse’s God of Carnage
    Meet Kelsey Didion of Curious Theatre’s Constellations
    Meet Denise Freestone of OpenStage’s August: Osage County
    Meet Sam Gregory of the Arvada Center’s Tartuffe

    Meet John Hauser of Curious Theatre’s Hand to God
    Meet Jim Hunt of Buntport’s The Zeus Probem
    Meet Jeff Jesmer of Spotlight Theatre’sThe Crucible
    Meet Wayne Kennedy of BDT Stage’s Mid-Life 2
    Meet Seth Maisel of Town Hall Arts Center’s The Firestorm
    Meet Tim McCracken of Local Theatre’s The Firestorm
    Meet Angela Mendez of Beauty and the Beast
    Meet Joelle Montoya of Su Teatro’s El Sol Que Tu Eres
    Meet Anne Oberbroeckling of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s Ripcord
    Meet Jessica Robblee of Buntport Theatre for All Ages’ Siren Song: A Pirate Odyssey
    Meet Cory Sapienza of Miners Alley Playhouse’s Hir
    Meet Sean Scrutchins of the Arvada Center’s Bus Stop
    Meet Jane Shirley of Santa’s Big Red Sack
    Meet Petra Ulyrich of Germinal Stage-Denver’s Johnny Got His Gun
    Meet Megan Van De Hey of the Arvada Center’s Sister Act
    Meet Sharon Kay White of the Arvada Center’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas

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