Cast Profile: Keith Gottschalk

by stephaniejankowski on March 28, 2017

Drumroll please!!!!!!
Today’s cast profile features another first for our show: we have us a male cast member!
*throws confetti, accidentally hits Keith in the face*
We’re so, so  grateful it’s Keith who is gracing our LTYM Pittsburgh stage as the show’s first guy storyteller. We’ve been telling our city you don’t have to be a woman or even a mother to be part of the cast, and Keith heard us, you guys. HE HEARD US! And we’re so glad he did.

 

  • Who is Keith Gottschalk?

When I figure it out, I’ll write about it. I may never know.

  • How did you discover LTYM?

Melissa Middleman Firman told me all about it on Facebook. We’ve never met and I’m not 100 percent sure how we friended each other but she convinced me that the story I had was worth taking a shot. I have auditioned for many plays and performances in my life and never made callback until now. I really wasn’t expecting it but the more I looked into the show, I am very much at ease sharing the story of my mother with all the other great stories that have been collected. The fascinating thing is what we remember about our moms or motherhood experiences and how they shape who we are.

  • What is the craziest thing you remember saying to your children?

I had to keep telling my older son to stop trying to take my beer. He was five. Soon as I turned my back, he’d grab my brew. My younger son, who is on the autism scale, I had to tell him that just because poo went down the toilet, that didn’t mean anything else did, including unfinished food, small stuffed animals and toys. Same problem with the Nintendo – “please stop sucking the end of the Nintendo cartridges, they won’t work with chewed food stuck to them.” Also, inside the VHS machine is not where we put unfinished food for later.

  • What is one of your favorite things you’ve ever written?

I can’t write fiction and I’m trying to be a memoirist but I used to be a newspaper columnist and a reporter and I guess I’ll tell you the story (and photo) I was most proud of. When I was living in Normal, Illinois and working for the Peoria Journal-Star, one Sunday afternoon a tanker truck full of fuel Keith articleoverturned on a freeway interchange. I heard it on the scanner and excused myself (my mom was visiting from Cleveland). I grabbed my camera and headed out there, parking on the overpass and climbing down the weed-filled berm. I caught a photo of the last explosion and fireball of the truck. It was literally split in two. The firefighters knew me so I got more of the story including a sidebar with a guy who rescued a pair of nuns who were in the car right behind the tanker (I know this sounds like I’m making it up!). Anyway, they wanted to give the guy an award later but they couldn’t find him. I had a front-page story, photo and sidebar. Now, years later, if I ever question whether I was a decent journalist, I can just look back on that day. The only copy of the front page (above) now hangs framed in my basement.

  • When did you first start thinking about your (parents) as an individual people and not just “mom and dad?”

I never thought about this. I don’t have a good answer. My dad died when I was 20. Mom was always mom.

  • What do you wish most for your children?

For my older son, to paraphrase Bill Joel, ‘to get at least as far as his old man got.’ And the knowledge that I am proud of him and wish him peace. And I wish he’d call me occasionally. For my younger son (who is on the autism spectrum) I fervently wish that his future medical care will not be put in peril by this or any other administration. I worry about him more than anyone.

  • What do you love most about Pittsburgh?

Keith and MomI know a lot of people say it’s the arts and cultural offerings and that is very true but for me, I would say the longer you live here, the more you feel like part of not only and expanded family, but as a community of very diverse and eclectic people who share a common bond to make this city and surrounding region as livable and the magazines say we are. And the hills and scenery – I think sometimes people who have lived here all their lives take them for granted. I don’t. Every day I look out my window and think how beautiful it all is.

  • What do you hope the audience takes away from your essay?

I hope that people realize, especially younger people, that many of us grew up with mothers who were breaking the mold of the ‘housewife’ by entering all kinds of careers for their fulfilment. My mom was a second-grade teacher. But at the same time, the expectations at home for many, did not change. My dad expected dinner on the table when he got home and nothing but sweetness and light from my mom. My mother could not complain about her hard day or count on any support from any of us. So she broke down on occasion. And we never really realized the strain she was under to be such a people-pleaser.

  • If you could only ever eat at one restaurant in the ‘Burgh, what would it be and why?

Here’s where I have to admit to being something of a rube when it comes to eating out. When you’re default place is Eat N Park, that’s not a lot to brag about. I need to get out more.

  • If you were mayor of Pittsburgh for a day, what law would you enact/change/do away with and why?
Remember this table when you listen to Keith's story during the show!

Remember this table when you listen to Keith’s story during the show!

The whole city needs a light rail/subway system not just the south side and parts of downtown. I think people would be less intimidated to make trips they want to by car and of course, lessen the traffic on the parkways and 28. It will never happen because of cost, but if I could wave a magic want, well, why not?

  • As someone who has dealt with mental illness all their life, what you would like people to know most about those who are also fighting their illness?

I want them to know that these people are sick, not weak. In fact, they are some of the strongest people you may ever meet. They don’t want sympathy, they want understanding and a chance to make it in the ‘real world’ without being discriminated against. They want to work, raise families, become a part of their communities – things most people want out of life. What they don’t want is to be met with fear or suspicion or overreaction. They’d like people to educated themselves on mental illness as well, especially the police and other people who they may encounter on one of their less-than-better days. And they’d also like people to think of mental health services the same what they think of any other social service that needs public support.

 

Show: May 12th @ 8pm

Tickets: HERE.

 

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