Browsing articles tagged with " directing process"

Albee, Mamet, and the Rest of Us

May 29, 2017   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook

“I am not interested in living in a city where there isn’t a production by Samuel Beckett running.”
― Edward Albee

100 or so years ago, when I was a little baby director freshly arrived in NYC, I decided to direct Waiting for Godot. I cast the play entirely …

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Mere Trifles by Susan Glaspell, et al.

May 29, 2017   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

In collaboration with Executive Director Anne Bertram at Theatre Unbound, I curated an evening of short plays to be in conversation with Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, for its’ 100th anniversary; I directed all four pieces. We commissioned Minnesota playwrights Rhiana Yazzie and Maxie Rockymore to write new pieces that picked …

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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

May 29, 2017   //   by Kate Powers   //   Incarcerated performers, Productions, Shakespeare

Feste in Twelfth Night at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, 2016

 

In 2016, as our contribution to the celebration of Shakespeare’s 400 year legacy, the men of RTA and I staged Twelfth Night at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. It was my fifth time directing this play; it was my fifth …

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Desdemona by Paula Vogel

Oct 22, 2015   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Productions, Shakespeare

Iman Messado as Emilia and Demoriya Phillips as Desdemona

Paula Vogel’s Desdemona cannot outrun Shakespeare’s Othello. She cannot escape her death. Nor, at least as much to Vogel’s point, can any woman escape the restrictions and restraints placed upon her by the men who define her existence.

Desdemona: A Play

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Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Jun 29, 2014   //   by Kate Powers   //   Incarcerated performers, Productions

Brother Ben exhorts Willy Loman.

In the first half of 2014, I directed Death of a Salesman at Fishkill Correctional Facility, under the auspices of Rehabilitation Through the Arts.

Mid-curtain call for director and cast.

With my incarcerated assistant director, Johnny Hincapie, I wrote the following for the playbill:

Willy …

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Stand and unfold yourself: a month at Shakespeare & Company

Apr 24, 2014   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Shakespeare

In January, I was a participant in the month-long intensive at Shakespeare & Company. Tina Packer, Dennis Krausnick, Kevin Coleman and their colleagues have been teaching the intensive for more than 30 years, and intensive is categorically one of the operative descriptors: the hours are long and the work is …

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They went and died about it: Staging an incarcerated cemetery

Jun 6, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

You can’t take an intermission at Sing Sing, and you cannot have a blackout.

Well, this year, a blackout was not available to us because the lights never go out in the room where we presented the play and because the circuits in that space couldn’t handle the wattage of …

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Talking to George Gibbs about Grief

Apr 12, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I recently found myself lying on the prison floor, talking to George Gibbs about grief.

[If you are new to my blog, you need to know that I am directing Our Town at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.]

Thornton Wilder’s stage direction reads, “George sinks to his knees then falls full

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It’s clearing up. The stars are coming out.

Mar 4, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

The individuals on the play selection committee all said that they wanted a comedy, or at least a story with some lighter moments in it.  Over the course of several months, my colleagues and I made almost three dozen suggestions that fit the committee’s criteria, which include having a dozen …

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This play is called Our Town: 75 years in Grover’s Corners (part III of III)

Jan 30, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook

No curtain. No scenery.

Wilder wrote that he was trying to restore significance to the small details of life by stripping away the scenery, “Theatre longs to represent the symbols of things, not the things themselves.”  Elsewhere, he observed, “Moliere said that for the theatre all he needed was a …

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This play is called Our Town: 75 years in Grover’s Corners (part II of III)

Jan 30, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook

First we want a little more information about the town

There seems to be a nearly universal anxiety about the potential for the play to become mawkish in production, coupled with a rehearsal room realization that it is anything but maudlin. “Lots of directors go to it without a sense …

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This play is called Our Town: 75 years in Grover’s Corners (part I of III)

Jan 27, 2013   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook

 

Thornton Wilder as the Stage Manager in Our Town, 1938.

Once upon a time in October 1937, Thornton Wilder wrote to his dear friend, Gertrude Stein, “I can no longer conceal from you that I’m writing the most beautiful little play you can imagine… It’s a little play …

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Action, Meet Word

Jul 3, 2012   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Shakespeare

In Sunday’s Washington Post, Peter Marks opines the demise of men in tights and the ascent of the high concept.  He writes, “It is the fashion in these meddling times — now perhaps more than ever — to put the doublets in mothballs and tie up Shakespeare in the …

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Dec 30, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Productions

Jake Mahler as Lysander and Denice Mahler as Hermia

Harley Granville Barker, a director, Shakespeare scholar and clever redhead, wrote, “Let us humbly own how hard it is not to write nonsense about art.”  He wrote this in his preface to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is a kind …

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Nay, answer me

Nov 9, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers, Shakespeare

I’m sitting in a run-down classroom as the sun slowly sets on the other side of the Hudson River.  The windows are threaded with metal, and there are metal grates on the outside of the glass.  Every so often, a corrections officer walks past the door.  Twelve men sit with …

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And I have found Midsummer, like a jewel …

Aug 22, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Shakespeare

I just finished an exhilarating, thrilling, grueling and very fun rehearsal process, directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the American Shakespeare Center.  There was no opening night.  At least, not yet.  My production comprises one-third of the 2011-2012 Almost Blasphemy Tour, and the day after our second dress rehearsal for …

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Becky’s New Car by Steven Dietz

Jul 12, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Overview

We had two short weeks in impossibly beautiful Aspen to stage Steven Dietz’s Becky’s New Car — a whirlwind ride of a one woman show that happens to have six other actors in it.  And while we were in tech, the carpenters, pavers and gardeners were working round the …

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Superior Donuts at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

May 15, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

On the verge of donut greatness

How can I describe my experience directing Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts with men inside Sing Sing Correctional Facility?  Thrilling, challenging, profoundly moving, frustrating, fun, exhilarating, playful, instructive, just like rehearsing any play with a dedicated company anywhere.  Except that it isn’t.

These men have …

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Behind the scenes, behind bars

Apr 1, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I used to imagine that incarcerated actors would have no schedule conflicts.  That they would be available to rehearse at any time.  That they don’t have anything else to do.  I was as wrong as I could be.  I marvel at how busy the men who participate in Rehabilitation Through …

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Friday night fights

Mar 17, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

Two weeks ago, I started a fight at Sing Sing.

If you don’t know Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts, there is a sprawling, protracted, chock-full-o-storytelling unarmed fight between two characters late in the second act.  I was apprehensive about staging the fight because, in the playwright’s stage direction, “It goes …

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Listen to a silenced voice

Feb 9, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I have tasked my assistant director on Superior Donuts at Sing Sing with keeping a rehearsal journal; if we were working at a theatre outside the prison’s walls, he might be writing blog posts for the company’s website regarding the progress of rehearsals.  He has started to find a nifty

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Maximum security casting

Feb 7, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

I was surprised, schooled and humbled by casting Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts, which I am directing under the auspices of Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.  It was not unlike casting a grad school production in the sense that it wasn’t about casting the best man …

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Headshots: brilliant image or fuzzy concept?

Jan 22, 2011   //   by Kate Powers   //   Coaching Tips, Director's Notebook

“There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.” – Ansel Adams

“”The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself.” – Edward Steichen

They’re your calling card, actors. They are your ticket through the door. Very often, they are the …

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The strip of (textual) terror

Dec 13, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Coaching Tips, Director's Notebook, Shakespeare

[This post originally appeared on www.2amtheatre.com, which is a very cool place to appear.]

Collation line.  Apparatus.  Strip of terror.  Whatever you call it, it’s that somewhat inscrutable line or two of apparently Enigma code between the text and the annotations, particularly in a modern edition of, say, Shakespeare.  …

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Starting Over at Sing Sing Correctional Facility

Nov 26, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Incarcerated performers, Productions

In early 2010, Jeff Glaser directed a production of Starting Over, written by a group of incarcerated men at Woodbourne Correctional Facility, at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison just north of New York City.  I partnered with Jeff as something more than an acting coach, something very …

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Doubt, a parable by John Patrick Shanley

Nov 18, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Overview

The most striking thing to me about John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt is that it scans. As in scansion. I don’t know what Shanley was thinking when he wrote it, but as I read and reread the play in preparation for rehearsals, I could feel the pauses. I could feel …

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The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

Nov 16, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions
"Sir, / You speak a language that I understand not".

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A Christmas Carol by Dickens, adapt by J Kimbell / K Powers

Nov 12, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Overview

In September 2006, Jon Kimbell approached me about co-directing A Christmas Carol with him at North Shore Music Theater this season.

North Shore has been producing Carol for the past 18 seasons, and Jon felt that the production had gotten both a bit stale and a bit adrift from …

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Fräulein Else by Arthur Schnitzler, adapted by Amy de Lucia

Nov 11, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Producing, Productions

Overview

Amy de Lucia first approached me with a copy of Arthur Schnitzler’s novella Fräulein Else in 1999, while we were working on How I Learned to Drive in Bangor, ME. Amy said she felt sure that there was a play in there, if only she could figure out how …

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Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Nov 10, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Prologue

While I was pursuing my M.A. at the Shakespeare Institute, I studied with Dr. John Jowett, who has done a tremendous amount of work on attribution studies in general, and the relationship between Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton in particular. I was particularly intrigued by his scholarship with regard to…

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Private Lives by Noël Coward

Nov 9, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

My program notes

When this play was first produced, the British theatrical impresario Ivor Brown wrote, “Within a few years, the student of the drama will be sitting in complete bewilderment before the text of Private Lives, wondering what on earth those fellows in 1930 saw in so flimsy …

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Execution of Justice by Emily Mann

Nov 8, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Prologue

Execution of Justice ran from January 28 trough February 8, 2004 on the Babcock Stage at Pioneer Theatre, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The acting company was comprised of students in the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah; not only did they embrace George Moscone and Harvey …

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Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones

Nov 7, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Prologue

I am only the second person in the world to direct Humble Boy, having served as associate director to John Caird on the American premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club in the spring of 2003.  John is an extraordinarily generous mentor; he encouraged me to explore the differences between …

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The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

Nov 6, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions


“It’s down to me, yes it is
The way she does just what she’s told
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb
Ah, ah, say it’s alright.”

*****

“I will be kind, won’t be so cruel,
I will be sweet, I will be true,
Because of

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As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Nov 5, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Don’t forget about the sex

American master director Stephen Wadsworth reminded me that As You Like It is “not necessarily a play about love but about self-realization through exile.” British director David Leveaux, by way of advising me, said: “Don’t forget about the sex.” I kept both of these extremely …

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Pieces by Zohar Tirosh

Nov 4, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions


Pieces is a very personal exploration of very public events. Pieces is a soldier’s story; a young woman’s search for hope as she journeys from drama school in New York City to military service in the Israeli desert; from peace to shattered pieces in the wake of Itzhak Rabin’s assassination …

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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Nov 3, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

The particular challenge

I worked to tell the stories of the play as truthfully and as clearly as we can, but I also wanted to celebrate the innate theatricality of the play. We examined every irregularity in the scansion, every short verse line, every shared verse line, every transition from …

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How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel

Nov 2, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

My program notes

A love story and an authentic moral contradiction, How I Learned to Drive challenges our definitions of family love and romantic love; it blurs the boundaries between right and wrong.

Paula Vogel says, “We receive great love from the people who harm us.” Drive dramatizes the great …

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Cymbeline by William Shakespeare

Nov 1, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

My program notes

Faithful love. Mistaken identity. Lost children. Separated lovers. Magic potions. Wicked stepmothers. Exhausting and frightening journeys through the wilderness. War with the Romans. Reconciliation. Forgiveness. Just your basic fairy, uh —Shakespeare. Only it isn’t. Basic.

Cymbeline was one of the last plays that William Shakespeare wrote. Only …

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Theatre behind the walls

Oct 23, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook, Incarcerated performers

[This post originally appeared on www.2amtheatre.com, which is a very cool place to appear.]

“Theatre inspires me.”

“Theatre teaches me about myself, and helps me to understand why other people do what they do.”

“Theatre relaxes me.”

“Theatre teaches me empathy.”

“Everyone in my life was a backstabber or …

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Like an old tale still

Oct 23, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Coaching Tips, Director's Notebook

[This post originally appeared on www.2amtheatre.com, which is a very cool place to appear.]

Last week, I coached an actor who had a big audition this past weekend.  It was of the ‘bring two contrasting pieces’ variety.  She came to me a little later in her process than I …

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Some Other Shakespeare (SOS) in the Park

Oct 13, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Producing, Productions

In collaboration with performers Frank Bradley and Seana Lee Wyman, I founded Some OTHER Shakespeare in the Park. Between 1996 and 1997, we produced and I directed Much Ado about Nothing in Bryant Park (behind the main New York Public Library) and Twelfth Night in Madison Square Park (across from …

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Five Women Wearing the Same Dress by Alan Ball

Oct 12, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Five Women… grapples with questions about the nature of friendship and sexual relationships for generation which was born in the wake of the sexual revolution and which has come of age in the era of AIDS.

As they watch two of their peers celebrate what looks to be a less …

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Fanny’s First Play by George Bernard Shaw

Oct 12, 2010   //   by Kate Powers   //   Productions

Amy Reiter,, Backstage:
“Some off-off-Broadway theatres could learn a thing or two from Westside Repertory Theatre. . . [Fanny’s First Play] is well directed, acted and designed to boot. Director Kathleen Powers has assembled a first-rate cast . . . we have more good Shavian drama to look …

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Open stage to empty space: the Granville-Barker inheritance

Jan 1, 2002   //   by Kate Powers   //   Director's Notebook

[I wrote this essay as part of my graduate work at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK.]

Harley Granville-Barker’s dramaturgical criticism has transformed our collective perception of Shakespeare’s plays. Full stop. Once he had completed his work as a director and as an analyst, it would no longer be defensible to …

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Latest Tweets

Directing is too hard, it takes too much time, and it doesn't pay very well.
– Harrison Ford

You lie, in faith, for you are called plain Kate,
And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom,
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate,
Take this of me, Kate of my consolation…
--The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, scene i