Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Spotlight On...Kristin Heckler

Name: Kristin Heckler

Hometown: Sellersville, PA

Education: Duke University, BA in Women's Studies & Spanish. The New School for Drama, MFA in Theatre Directing

Favorite Credits: How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, Stop Kiss by Diana Son, Or by Liz Duffy Adams

Why theater?: When I was about 12 I wrote a poem about how a theatre (or rehearsal room) was the only place I could truly be myself: goofy, intellectual, sappy, a bit anal retentive and full of laughs.

Tell us about Exposed: This play is the origin story of a young and intelligent porn star. We watch her evolve from nerdy high school girl who hides her masturbating in her room to a woman who defends her sexuality on national television. People all over the world attacked her on social media because she was a sexual woman who wasn't afraid to stand up for it. Exposed exposes what happened behind the screens. We wrote the play collaboratively from a combination of found text from articles/interviews and then improved the rest and slowly worked it into script form. It's taken two years!

What inspired you to write/direct Exposed?: I graduated from Duke and we never seem to go more than a few years without a national sex scandal. I was in my first year of grad school when the story of the Duke Porn Star broke and I was obsessed. My first reaction was intrigue with a side of disdain. Just like everyone else, I thought, if she is that smart: why did she have to do porn? And why BDSM porn? Then I read her articles and watched her interviews and I felt ashamed. I felt ashamed for judging this girl who was forced to make adult decisions because American universities (especially my own) have made it impossible to get a college degree without student loans. Presenting this play is my way of confronting that little slut-shaming voice we all have in the back of our heads.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love theatre which deals with gender and sexuality. At this point in my life, I am most interested in how our society undervalues any feminine traits, whether it is displayed in a man or a woman. Why can't men wear dresses? I think they'd love them. Why do we think it isn't work to keep a home in working order? I also especially love when a play has an LGBT character without BEING about being LGBT. The Humans by Stephen Karam is a mainstream play which does that beautifully. The sister's homosexuality plays little to no bearing on the main themes of the play, it just is. My favorite playwright is Paula Vogel and I have definitely borrowed the structure of How I Learned to Drive while developing Exposed.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Well I already blew up my spot but Paula Vogel obviously. Or Sarah Treem! The How and The Why, go read it now.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Indecent by Paula Vogel directed by Rebecca Taichman. I saw the first production at Yale Rep by recommendation (and obsession with Paula) and sobbed through the curtain call because I was so proud of the artists who created it. And it's coming to Broadway in April! Sometimes Broadway does in fact get the good stuff, PLEASE see it! www.indecentbroadway.com

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Well I get Natalie Portman more than anyone else and to get a celeb doppleganger who is actually brilliant is rare so I'll take it ;-). It would be called Singular or I just want to know

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Hedwig with NPH.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: SVU and network TV in general

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A midwife.

What’s up next?: I'm working on a play called Newsflashing with one of my fellow New School grads, Lorne Svarc. The protagonist is a conservative news show host, Nora, who hosts a sex guru on her TV show. The sex guru has started a movement for female ritualized masturbation to reduce stress and relax women. Nora originally scoffs at the idea but is secretly drawn to it. She enters the movement as an "undercover investigative journalist" or maybe just as herself in denial.

For more on Exposed, visit http://www.recognizetheatre.org/

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