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Musical actress takes on her first non-singing role

Lawrence Pierce
(From left) Bethany Cline, Rob Boone, Kim Javins and Greg Harpold star in Charleston Stage Company's production of the black comedy "God of Carnage," opening Thursday at the Capitol Center Theater. This is Javins' first non-singing role; Cline talked her into participating.

WANT TO GO?

"God of Carnage"

Presented by Charleston Stage Company

WHERE: Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Jan. 24-26

TICKETS: Adults $15, students and seniors $10 INFO: 304-343-5272 or www.charlestonstagecompany.com

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kim Javins has done a fair amount of theater. She's sung her way through musicals with the Charleston Light Opera Guild. She played Sandy in the group's production of "Grease" and was Daisy Mae in two different productions of "Li'l Abner."

"I've done a couple of Kanawha Players shows," she said. "And I've recently started doing some stuff with Children's Theatre."

Javins loves the theater, but until now she's always stuck to roles with singing. Thursday, she breaks new personal ground as an actor when she appears in Charleston Stage Company's production of "God of Carnage," a decidedly non-musical black comedy.

"God of Carnage" revolves around two sets of parents -- one middle-class, the other wealthy -- who meet to discuss an incident between their two children on the playground. The son of the wealthy couple hit the son of the middle-class child with a stick and knocked out a couple of teeth. The parents have come together to talk it out.

Javins plays Annette, the mother of the apparently guilty child. Rob Boone plays her husband. Bethany Cline and Greg Harpold make up the other couple.

Javins said ordinarily she gives regular theater a wide berth.

"But one of my best friends, Bethany Cline, called me. She plays Veronica, the other mother, and she's completely legit," Javins said. "She majored in theater and has done lots of straight theater."

Javins, however, has not.

"I've sung all my life," she said. "I did show choir in high school. I sang in the big orchestra in college."

After college, she said she stayed with musical theater mostly out of insecurity about her acting ability.

"I can't act," she said. "I can't act or dance, but I feel like if I fall flat on my acting, I can redeem myself with a song. And a lot of stuff I've done with musical theater, you're a caricature of someone."

Cline insisted that Javins could do this play.

"I told her, unless I can sing a song, I don't know. That's just out of my comfort zone."

Cline convinced her to take a look at the play. A 2011 film version, starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Chrisoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, was available on video.

Javins downloaded the Roman Polanski-directed film from Amazon and said she was hooked.

"I loved it," she exclaimed. "I thought it was hysterical."

She agreed to do it.

Javins said acting without the safety net of a jaunty musical number was a challenge, made even more difficult by how her character winds up drunk, ranting and vomiting by the end of the play.

She laughed and said, "We're still working on the vomiting thing. Robert Haddy, who was on 'Face Off,' is making some kind of device for us."

Javins credited her fellow actors for helping her through her first foray into non-musical theater, though she's not certain she'll be looking for another play right away.

"Maybe with the right role," she said.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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