At the bar with Katie Rose McLaughlin

TMT: What drew you to Act III of The Iceman Cometh? What makes it stand out from the other acts.

Katie Rose McLaughlin: Initially I was totally uninterested in Act III. In a play about drinking, almost no one had a drink! BO-RING. Do the party, I thought. But the more I looked at what was actually happening, as in physically, in the third act, I realized that it could be addressed as a series of entrances and exits, and that it had a certain physical momentum that I could harness, manipulate, and turn inside out in some way… So, Act III it was.

TMT: O’Neill is famous for his repetition in his text. How are you handling his text with a movement based piece?

KRM: A dramaturgical tidbit that’s been informing me on O’Neill’s repetitions is the idea that the characters speak themselves into being – that the activity of each utterance is to rouse the character from nothingness into somethingness, at least for the duration of their speaking. To fall silent is to be nothing again. So, how do you apply that to movement? We’re studying what it means to physically shift that activity into actual choreography, and how we can use the text to inform what becomes a dance-like attempt to be present, to survive, to matter.

TMT: Who are some of your biggest influences in theatrical movement and choreography?

KRM: My theatrical instincts come from my Lecoq & clown training as well as my desire to create spectacle on a pedestrian level. My influences are varied, from Robert Lepage to Trisha Brown, Pina Bausch to Robert Wilson. I strive to put all my upbringing into the same bag, shake it around, and then let it come out as it sees fit, be it movement or stillness, a grand dance or a simple gesture.

TMT: Let’s play Word Association. I say a word and then you elaborate.

Hope – Fingers crossed for the future
Dreams – Bedtime
Popcorn – Movies
Confetti – Happy New Year!
Iceman – Arnold Schwarzenegger frozen in a block of ice
Failure – Darkness
Future – Excitement
Judgement – Blocking creativity
Anarchy – Men in leather

TMT: What’s on tap for you next?

KRM: I’m choreographing Joshua William Gelb’s production of THE BLACK CROOK (often considered to be the first piece of musical theatre) which will perform at Abron’s Arts Center September / October. Expect melodrama, expect spectacle, expect many many many dances.

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