Monday, March 3, 2014

Spotlight On...Katharine McLeod

Name: Katharine McLeod

Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Education: BA Theatre/Performance Studies from UC Berkeley, MFA in Acting from the University of Washington

Favorite Credits: Arcadia (Hannah Jarvis); Twelfth Night (Viola); She Stoops to Conquer (Kate Harcastle)

Why theater?: I fell in love with theater watching local productions of Shakespeare when I was a little kid-- the immediacy of the language, the elaborate costumes, the broad comedy, the outsized circumstances, characters and themes... I so wanted to be a part of this magic art form that could transport me out of my small little modern existence and make me feel connected to something universal and timeless. I think that early love is what keeps me in it-- that need to connect and the possibility for the special kind of intimate, shared experience that theater provides.

Tell us about My High-Heeled Life: Or, how I learned to keep worrying and love my stilettos?: It's a monologue show-- no crazy characters, and not a plot, per se-- just me, telling stories, and chatting with the audience. It's about shoes, New York, women, men, and learning how to unapologetically embrace the things that bring you joy.

What inspired you to create My High-Heeled Life: Or, how I learned to keep worrying and love my stilettos?: I first began writing it as a short solo piece when I was in grad school at UW-- we all had to write solo pieces in both our second and third years. After spending the summer in SE Asia, I was interested in exploring ideas of "Happiness" and our Western obsession with Self-Help... but on a whim, I also thought "I'd love to write a show about why I love high heels!" A very smart faculty member and advisor (Shanga Parker) suggested I find a way to write about both...

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Any time the artists are really going after it in the theater, I'm inspired. This can be anything from realism to completely experimental work-- I just want to see people really connecting with each other and the audience, whatever that means. And I love it when I'm surprised at the theater-- either by really good, unpredictable writing, or incredibly bold acting-- being surprised is the best! As an audience member, I want to be on my toes... and when I see this kind of work, it makes me itchy to create.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Hard question, unless you want a VERY long list! Aside from the numerous amazing artists I know but have yet to work with here in NYC in the off-off community-- dreaming big, I would love to share a stage with Janet McTeer or Laura Linney. Or any of the artists from Steppenwolf.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Jerusalem (with Mark Rylance), Brief Encounter, anything I've seen by Daniel Kitson, Scarcity (along with the other Hill Town Plays)... this could also become a very long list!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Ok, if I were able to pick any actress living or dead, it would absolutely be Barbara Stanwyck. But if we're keeping it in the realm of the living... Lily Rabe. Maybe Carey Mulligan. And I think it would be called "Goldilocks' Revenge"

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Something I actually feel guilty about (i.e.. not chocolate or bourbon)-- watching reruns of "Full House" on Nick at Nite. It is SO BAD. It's not even "so bad it's good"-- but I still have a near impossible time turning it off. Maybe this is more shame than guilt, but whatever.

What’s the most played song on your iPod?: "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A chef. Or maybe a travel writer.

What’s up next?:
Right after the Frigid, I'm heading out of town to do a regional production of God of Carnage at the Sudbury Theatre Center. I play the gal who vomits! I can't wait!