Friday, September 12, 2014

Spotlight On...Cat Parker

Name: Cat Parker

Hometown: Military Brat, so raised all over the world. But have lived in NYC longer than anywhere else, so I'm claiming it!

Education: MFA - Texas Tech University

Select Credits: Artistic Director of Articulate Theatre Company. Favorite productions include Picasso at the Lapin Agile (NYIT Award Winner), A Doll’s House, a steampunk-influenced Twelfth Night (NYIT Award Winner), the New York premiere of Sister Cities, (NYIT Award Nominee), and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Most recent projects include Parts of Parts and Stitches and Dragon.

Why theater?: Oh man. I ask myself this question at least once a week. The real, no-bull answer is that I love telling stories and watching those stories change the people who witness it. And theatre is always "life-sized." Movies may have more technology, but theatre remains about the human form, size and experience as we can all identify with it. Stories are important - they cause change in individuals, which causes change in small groups then out to communities, societies, nations and the world. It's gratifying that I can be part of something that's both basic and epic.

Tell us about the Articulating the Arts: Off the Wall?: Articulating the Arts: Off the Wall is part of our continuing exploration of the art of theatre using other art forms as a jumping off point. There's a conversation that happens between a painter, their canvas and the viewer. Our playwrights are the viewers of those paintings, but then they take the conversation further - sharing their perspective of the painting with actors who then share it with an audience. And we hope the audience will further that conversation even more, by sharing their experience with others. The paintings we used are classics, known by most people - but the stories that have come out of them range from the Tennessee hills to an Army base in Iraq. From the beginning of the Universe to a focus group to an empty fountain on another world. The conversation is... vast.

What inspired you to create Articulating the Arts: Off the Wall?: Articulating the Arts is our signature benefit event. "Off the Wall" is the second of these events (AtA: A Thousand Words was the first one.) The original inspiration came from an Articulate Theatre Company member who was helping his daughter write a paper based off of a classical painting. Hearing him relate the conversation that occurred between the two of them, because of that work of art, sparked the idea that art is meant to be discussed, and re-discussed, and discussed again. Each new perspective tells us more about ourselves and those around us. It has always been the goal that ATC would do works that had depth, meaning and connection. This fit the bill in spades.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like "epically local" theatre - theatre that contains elements of the mundane and the mythical. Maybe it's a play set in a laundry mat that involves Greek gods, or set in a fairy kingdom but addresses bullying. I think the Irish writers are particularly good at this, but as I meet more and more of the playwrights in this city... well, let's just say we have an embarrassment of riches in NYC!

What’s your favorite showtune?: Oh dear - gonna expose my silly side here. I love "For Good" from Wicked. I've moved a lot in my life, so the lyric about a friend leaving "...a handprint on my heart" just gets me where I live.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I've accomplished part of this with this Articulating the Arts. I've always wanted to work with Daniel Talbott, and I'm directing a play of his for "Off the Wall!" I'm completely excited about that. I'm hoping someday to work with Gwydion Suilebhan.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Huumm... How about "Ninja Theatre" with Catherine Keener.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: When BAM hosted The Bridge Project's Cherry Orchard I couldn't stop talking about it. Also, KneeHigh's Wild Bride if I can cheat and mention two.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "When Water Comes To Life" by Cloud Cult. We did a steam punk Twelfth Night a couple of years ago, using their music, and that song has stuck with me ever since.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Late night hidden object games online - just.can't.stop!

What’s up next?: For the rest of our season, Articulate Theatre is producing an event called "Circling Back" which will be an homage to Circle Rep Theatre, and then - pending funding - we're doing Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth because we love a challenge!

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