- “Hey, Dani, I spent the day with a colleague getting chemotherapy last week. Here’s a picture in front of the building; it’s all about hope.”
- “Hey, Kate, I talked with my mother-in-law – a cancer, hospice nurse – and her stories resonate with the heart of the play. Want to Skype tomorrow?”
Actor, Kate Goehring and Director, Dani Keil, begin conversations like this frequently, in what they call their deeper dive into the world of Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, W;t.
On Triad Stage….
Dani: (Channeling Terry Gross.) So you’re returning to Triad Stage for your fifth show, and I know you’re excited to come back to Winston-Salem. What do you like about the area so much?
Kate: Triad audiences own their theater – so open and eager and present. This is the third Triad show in which my characters talk to the audience. How many actors get that privilege? It’s like picking up where you left off in the conversation.
Dani: Yes! I talk to the audience members next to me when I attend the shows. I like to ask what their favorites shows have been and how long they’ve been coming. There’s a pride; many say, “We’ve been here since the beginning!”
On Grace (Everybody’s Got Some)…
Dani: Edson says W;t is about grace. Where do you see grace in the world?
Kate: Oh the list….! I love that grace can’t be earned; saints and thieves have equal access (not that I’m encouraging anything other than saint-like behavior – but there wouldn’t be any plays, if only saints existed). Plays feel grace-filled to me, because characters arrive with agendas about how life should go – as do we – but that is not the way the play goes. The audience catches the transformation and seals the deal. As they say, “There is no present like time”. Audiences bring that particular gift to the mix. What about you? Where do you see grace?
Dani: The image of an adult talking to a child comes to mind, when an adult is honest and respectful and honors the core of a child. It’s like that with actors too; they relate from their core to everyone’s core with real motivations and actions.
Dani: You’re doing the 100 Days of Poetry on your Facebook. Can you talk a little bit about the response to that?
Kate: It was 30 in 30, based on Bikram Yoga’s infamous 30 Day Challenge. I wanted to do a deeper dive into where the character and I meet and started putting it on Facebook, and there were just these thumbs-up from the most unexpected places. People I rarely see, Chicago cops, high school classmates – people you wouldn’t expect – started tracking it with comments: “Oh, you’re killing me with that one;” “That’s my favorite,” “sending that one to my Dad,” etc. So it became 100 poems in 100 days, because people were so into it. It’s a lot like theatre; “you will not find the daily news in poetry but many men have died from the lack of what is found there.”
Having loved poetry anyway, it is amazing to see how deeply people love poetry. I’m on day 94 – dreading not posting daily after 100. Guess we’ll have to do a play, right Dani?
Dani: Absolutely! Rehearsals start on Friday!