Friday, March 13, 2015

The Rise and Fall of...Kate Gunther

Name: Kate Gunther

Hometown: Dousman, WI (via Milwaukee, WI)

Education: BA Theatre Arts/Visual Art University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Favorite Credits: Rise & Fall (Jenny Smith, Bread Arts), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet, Onomatopoeia Theatre Co.), Macbeth (Witch/Banquo/Porter/Malcolm, Drunk Shakespeare), Tis Pity She's A Whore (Classical Actors Ensemble)

Tell us about Bread Arts Collective: Bread is a collaborative group of artists and theatre makers, coming together, creating visceral, exciting work, from the hearts and minds of some of the best people I know--Not just as actors, or writers, or artists, but as humans, truly some of the best around.  It is the official title given to something that grew naturally, and delightfully over time through a million little connections and various projects.  It's a community, coming into it's own, and taking what was a loose conglomerate, and declaring proudly, "These are my people".  We create and support strong, thoughtful, passionate work that we hope invites people in, and interacts with the world around us.

Tell us about Rise and Fall: Rise and Fall has a long history.  It came about a few years ago as a project for company member Eric Powell Holm while getting his MFA in Direction at Columbia University.  Inspired by the operetta Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht, Elisabeth Hauptmann, and Kurt Weill, our Rise and Fall is a very modern, reimagined  version of the tale, originally written by Eric Powell Holm and Ian Storey, and adapted by the ensemble.  Since it's first rendition, it has been remounted, and seen various changes, but has largely maintained the original cast and concept.  It's about money, lust, capitalism, power, whiskey, and sex.   Rise and Fall is the story of our hero 'Jimmy Galagher, and his crew of Alaska Boys, come face to face with a charming band of criminals, and the harsh realities of money and love in our time.  It's playful, larger than life, and yet heartfelt.  It's very immersive, ensemble and audience driven.

Why Rise and Fall now?: Rise and Fall, with out trying to, became something of a cult party show.  We loved doing it so much the first go round, and got such great feed back, that it only seemed natural to bring it back.  When that happened, a demand grew for it to be a repented event.  It had followers, it had an expectation of being a center point in a night of art and frivolity.  Three separate evenings over the course of several years, Rise and Fall came back; so when the opportunity for a more public venue and greater public audience came about, the team rallied with a resounding yes.  It's a show that craves an audience and a following, and the People's Lounge has afforded us just that.  It's a great show to introduce a larger world to Bread through, and it's a perfect show for theatre audiences in nyc today.  The way people see theatre is changing.  Rather than paying hundreds of dollars to sit in the orchestra at a Broadway show, audiences are seeking out interactive, immersive work.  They want to be intimate, they want to be invited to the party.  'Rise and Fall' does that, it's a party show.  It's also relevant to today.  Strip away the fake mustaches and the punk rock and it's a tale about what power is and money and friendship and love mean in a capitalist modern world.  Yes there is a lot of cross dressing and hair and sweat and whiskey, but there is also a lot to reflect on and connect with.

What is it like to be a part of Rise and Fall and Bread Arts Collective?: It's a family.  It's like getting to work with your best friends, and your idols all at the same time.  It's supportive and exciting and inspiring.  You look at who you're in a room with and can't help but smile.  Last sunday an audience member came up to me to introduce themselves and I asked if they had a good time.  He said yes, and more so, what he loved was how evident what a great time we were all having as well.  We love to work together, we love to bring the audience into that.

Why should we come see Rise and Fall?: You should see Rise and Fall because it needs you.  It's a show that needs people, the energy back and fourth.  You should see it because it's refreshing, it's so terribly live, it's that kind of show that reminds you why live theatre matters, why it could only exist in this form.  It's the kind of show that will make old lovers of theatre remember what they loved in the first place and allow new comers to fall in love for the first time.