Q&A with 2013 Salon Director Katherine Brook on her project “Transcripts”

As we stated in our HowlRound blog post that was published yesterday (!), the Salon’s night of Director-Driven work is one of our most difficult events to curate as we not only choose projects that we feel are exciting in terms of content and style, but to work together as an evening and truly benefit from the resources we offer.  This year’s Director-Driven directors are Katherine Brook (Transcripts), Kareem Fahmy (The InBetween), and Shana Solomon (Untitled Immigration Project).  Make sure to check out their works-in-progresses on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:30pm and keep reading for a Q&A with Katherine about her piece, Transcripts.

Director Katherine Brook, whose piece "Transcripts" will be performed at the Salon's Night of Director-Driven Work on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:30pm.

Director Katherine Brook, whose piece “Transcripts” will be performed at the Salon’s Night of Director-Driven Work on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:30pm.

Working Theater: Tell us about your project in the Salon.

Katherine Brook: Transcripts is the continuation of a project I’ve been working on in collaboration with playwright Liza Birkenmeier. I think of it as an experiment in finding expressionistic approaches to archival material that can transcend the dull confines of realism usually assumed in documentary theatre. We did a piece two years ago year called American Realism, based on recordings from the Depression, and now we’re tackling contemporary recordings which Liza collected herself. For the Director’s Salon I’ll be working with one actor to perform a six-minute monologue three ways, that Liza composed out of a series of stories told by a lesbian Marine during Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

WT: How do you define Director-Driven work?

KB: I define Director-Driven work as theatre that begins with an idea, and is realized through collaboration with other artists. I define it pretty loosely…

WT: Tell us about the rehearsal process and how the piece has progressed.

KB: Right now actor Alex Spieth is learning the audio-script by listening to it over and over again on her iPod. Meanwhile, sound designer Erik Lawson and I are brainstorming a version that might include the archival material, or somehow integrate the live actor and the original recording.

WT: What other projects have you created as a lead artist would you like to tell us about?

KB: I do most of my work as a lead artist through my company “Katherine Brook / Tele-Violet.” The most recent project was Lady Han, a contemporary Americana take on a classical Noh play. That went up at Incubator in February.

WT: Director-Driven work often involves elements of self-production.  What resources do you know of that could aid an emerging director who is interested in creating/producing their own work?

KB: Fractured Atlas is helpful, and BAX, and places like that. Most helpful of all, though, is the support (not just financial) of friends, family, and collaborators.

Katherine Brook will be joining fellow directors Kareem Fahmy and Shana Solomon in presenting 20-minute excerpts of their works-in-progresses in our Night of Director-Driven Work on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:30pm at the June Havoc Theatre at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex (312 W. 36th St., 1st Floor).  The event is FREE with a suggested donation either online or at the door.  Click here to RSVP as our performance nights fill up quickly!

For more information about the Night of Director-Driven Work and the 4th Annual Working Theater Directors Salon, visit our websiteor check us out on Facebook, and feel free to e-mail wtdirectors@gmail.com with any questions.

Katherine Brook most recently directed Lady Han at Incubator Arts Project. She received her MFA in Directing at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, where her thesis production of Suddenly, Last Summer, inspired the company name Tele-Violet. This past year, she directed She Is King, starring Laryssa Husiak as Billie Jean King (Dixon Place), and American Realism, part of Tele-Violet’s Transcripts project with Liza Birkenmeier, (The Invisible Dog, the San Diego Museum of Art and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions). Brook has also works for StoryCorps and The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, and is a member of New Georges’ Jam. katherinebrook.com

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