Saturday, December 13, 2014

Spotlight On...Laura Butler Rivera

Name: Laura Butler Rivera

Hometown: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Education: MFA in Acting from Columbia University; and BA in Drama from the University of Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras

Favorite Credits: Teach, Teacher, Teachest (One-Eighth Theater at INTAR Theatre); UBU (One-Eighth Theater); so go the ghosts of México: Part 1 (La MaMa); Zoetrope (Caborca theatre).

Why theater?: The stem of it all? Wanting to learn as much of everything as possible, by doing. At age 8 I thought through acting I’d have the opportunity to ‘step into others shoes’ and be able to do and learn of the world and its ways.  Throughout the years I’ve come to appreciate the ritual and the uniqueness of theater even more. Theater is not only scary and exhilarating, it’s educational and social. I love meeting up with other artists and being silly, serious, frustrated, scared, sad, vulnerable, inspired, and joyful, all the many facets.  Then getting a drink and talking about the process; then sharing it with an audience and having a drink with them and talking about it.  The simplicity and complications of a theatrical event are fantastic. There is a quote I heard and love that says “I lose and find myself in Art.” This definitely applies to me.

Tell us about All That Dies And Rises?: All That Dies and Rises is a piece created out of a love of expression and dedication. The Ensemble, the heart, and the space were all there. What was needed was a common denominator to tell the story. A situation during the original planned process occurred that wasn’t expected and we were faced with two options: To stop or to create. We rose to the occasion and decided to create and share what James Rutherford calls “a hurricane of sweat and laughter, asking how we go on in the face of catastrophe.”

What inspired you to choreograph All That Dies And Rises?: I had met James working on Love’s Labour’s Lost, a Columbia thesis production directed by Andrei Serban in 2010; He was assistant director and I was a movement coach. Since then I respect his work. I admire the beautiful imagery in his plays and the way he talks about theater. When he approached me to work with him on his next project I loved how open to exploration he was. It would also give me the opportunity to work with Casey once again. When All That Dies and Rises emerged as an idea the opportunity to dive into the unknown with a great ensemble to create a piece from zero was an inspiration and an exciting challenge.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I am attracted to pieces that take greater risks (because theater is a risk in itself). And I enjoy theatrical pieces that are unafraid of genres.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: This list is long and vast. I’d love to work with as many as possible. I’m a theater nerd. And film lover.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Flirting with food. I just ate at Chef Martin Picard’s Au pied de Cochon in Montréal, Quebec and tried his House-made Boudin with a great red wine and it was one of the guiltiest pleasurable experiences ever. Thanks to Chef Anthony Bourdain’s recommendation, he’s never let me down. And I never miss enjoying a delicious mofongo accompanied by a Medalla beer whenever I’m in PR.

What’s the most played song on your iPod?: Currently it’s “Sail” by Awolnation.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A Film director…or in dance...or a painter’s assistant…or a film editor…pretty much something to do with the Arts. haha.

What’s up next?: Zoetrope with Caborca Theatre at Pregones Theater in January 2015, Distant Star, an ART workshop of Roberto Bolaño’s Distant Star in Cambridge, MA in March 2015, "The Entitlement", a film by Javier Antonio González in the summer and Ankara, Turkey- Teaching at Bilkent University 2015-2016, starting in September

For more on Laura, visit