Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spotlight On...Caitlin Johnston

Name: Caitlin Johnston

Hometown: Madison, WI

Education: B.A. Barnard College, Columbia University; The National Theatre Institute at the O’Neill; Anthony Abeson Studio; The Shakespeare Forum

Select Credits: Juliet and Viola, Shakespeare Dinner Theatre (Lilla Café); Tessa, grunge is dead (The American Globe); Grace, Death Valley (AntiMatter Collective).

Why theater? Film is also a fascinating medium to me, but the immediacy of theater excites me… a live audience provides a different energy every night which makes the show a little different each time. I also love having the momentum of an entire play behind me to help reach the climax of the show (as opposed to film which is so choppy and almost always shot out of order).

Tell us about Before Placing Me on Your Shelf: It just might be my favorite show I’ve ever done. The entire script is adapted from poems by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Tate… I was never a big fan of poetry, but when Phil showed me some of Tate’s work I just fell in love. Our setting is more or less the mundane world we’re all familiar with, which makes the bizarre things that happen in it all the stranger. Plus we’ve got everything you could ever want! Awesome writing with beautiful direction, fabulous actors, zombie dance numbers, flesh-eating moths, human sacrifice, camels, duct tape, a montage, Buddhist slavery… You just have to come see it. It’s so cool.

What is it like to be a part of Before Placing Me on Your Shelf?: Pretty freaking great. We’ve been together working on this piece since January when we performed at Manhattan Theatre Source, and our cast feels like a family to me. At this point, I think we also innately understand the strange world of Tate and can identify right away if something works or doesn’t. It’s been a very rewarding process.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I’m very interested in new works… Lunar Energy’s Resident Playwright Kat Sherman is an absolutely incredible new voice. I’m inspired by good writing and by the images and ideas that stick with you long after a play is over (which our Fringe show is chock full of!). It’s funny as an actor, but many of my biggest inspirations are writers and directors: Sarah Ruhl, Joss Whedon, Brian Kulick, and Phil Gates (our director for Before Placing Me On Your Shelf).

What are your favorite audition pieces?:
Right now I’m loving The Metal Children by Adam Rapp. I also have a lot of success with a monologue from Kat Sherman’s play grunge is dead (which is being published soon!).

Any role you’re dying to play?: Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice. Goddamn I love that play. Also Evelyn in The Shape of Things and Mary Lane in the musical Reefer Madness. And Kayleen in Gruesome Playground Injuries. And Richard II. There’s so many things I want to do!

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Haha, Before Placing Me On Your Shelf of course! Our cast and company member Elizabeth Romanski is also performing right now in Sleep No More: an immersive story of Macbeth performed in an abandoned warehouse on the Upper West Side- definitely check that out!

What’s up next?: A director friend of mine broached the idea to me of an all-female Hamlet for this winter which would be pretty neat! Lunar Energy also has an all new adaptation of Three Sisters in the works for next spring in which I would play Irina.

For more information on Caitlin, visit her website at http://www.Caitlin-Johnston.com/. For more information and tickets to Before Placing Me On Your Shelf, visit http://www.LunarEnergyProductions.com/