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Cat Parker is creating a monster

Currently in fundraising and in pre-production after a wildly successful reading, Articulate Theatre Company’s production of Doctor Frankenstein gears up for a limited run in November. [Watch the trailer] 

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But that’s not all.

Articulate is thrilled to have George Allison’s new play inaugurate their residency at the historic West End Theatre.

But that’s not all.

Articulate joins Prospect Theater Company, The Bang Group, and Hunger & Thirst as one of the resident companies of West End Theatre’s “Consortium,” located on the second floor of the historic Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (263 W 86th St, New York City). “We are very excited to have a home base from which to continue our work and to have the chance to share energy with the other wonderful companies that call this space home,” said Brittney Venable, Articulate’s managing director. “The stunning architecture is a perfect location for our next production, Doctor Frankenstein, by George Allison.”

But that’s not all.

Cat Parker, Articulate’s founding artistic director, was recently made a part of the new leadership of New York Innovative Theatre Foundation. She joins Ariel Estrada, Producing Artistic Director of Leviathan Lab Projects; Jazmyn Arroyo, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Step 1 Theatre Project; and Akia Squiteri, Artistic Director of Rising Sun Performance Company as Directors of the organization. “It is a terrific honor,” said Parker, “I look forward to working with my new partners to support the Indie theatre community by continuing to provide a setting that recognizes the amazing work that we all do, and by advocating for the artistic and social needs of all our artists” she concluded.

Something tells me … there’s more to come.

iconsquareabc584D0008-5823-4E32-9F8F19CC9C32EA40.jpgArticulate Theatre Company is an ensemble driven company who thrive on being storytellers. Our simple mantra is ‘good stories, told well.’ Guided by the three definitions of articulate, -clarity, structure and connectivity- we are committed to challenging and connecting audiences and artist with clearly structured work that is intelligent, thought-provoking and visually striking. Storytelling is the heart of theatre. And the stories we like to tell involve myth, magic and the mundane: Mythical creatures bringing new perspective to our mundane lives, or typical people doing epic things. Gods, faeries, artists, plumbers, teachers, heroes, villains, accountants, florists – when these elements combine, we see our reality in a new way. Learn more and get tickets at http://bit.ly/ArticulateDF

Before the monster is loose, we wanted to speak with Ms. Parker about all things new and exciting.

How does this [Doctor Frankenstein] fit in to the mission of ATC?

Articulate’s mission is “myth, magic and the mundane.” This play is an excellent example of how good plays use a mythical story to relate to all of us in our daily lives. Mary Shelley’s story of a mad scientist hell-bent of breaking the laws of god and man is so much a part of the zeitgeist that you can say “Frankenstein” anywhere in the world and people will have a reaction to it. The story has been translated, transcribed, adapted, converted to film, plays, comic books, even video games! You’d be hard pressed to find a story more “mythic” than that of Victor Frankenstein and his “creature.” And yet, what is it is all a lie? What if the story millions of people have enjoyed over the years, actually resulted in one man’s erasure from the world? Many of us have experienced someone saying something untrue about us, and in the world of social media, that untruth can spread like wildfire and create it’s own reality, scarring us in the process. I don’t know anyone who has created a monster in their NYC studio apartment, but I do know people who have been hurt by rumors and lies. Many of us can identify with Victor Frankenstein’s frustration at the warping of his reality. The heart of this story is the meeting between the mythic tale of “Frankenstein” and the mundane reality of a person’s life destroyed by casual untruths.

Are you a fan of the genre?

Kind of depends on what genre you mean! I am not a big fan of blood & guts style horror films, but I looooove psychological thrillers. Our “Doctor Frankenstein” definitely fits the latter category. There’s blood and guts, to be sure, but the plot really hinges on the reality behind the madness. And of course, some plot turns you won’t see coming!

Living author … Pros? Cons?

Hah! Well, in this case the living author actually lives with me, so I’ll have to be careful about how I answer this one! Speaking generally, I see this as just a different set of challenges. Dead authors don’t weigh in on every little thing you do, but they also aren’t there to challenge me as an artist. A living author, especially one that lives in your house, definitely ramps up the “challenge” factor! The ‘cons’ of it are what a fellow director in the same situation calls “the 24-hour design meeting.” It’s hard to switch off the discussion, and art (and artists) need quiet time to let ideas percolate. But there are so many ‘pros’ to the working with a playwright that is in the trenches with you. To have them at rehearsals, listening, interpreting, really helps the process to flow, and to make sure that the message I’m putting on a stage is the one they wanted when they wrote it on the page.

What is your creative process as a director and do you find wearing the producer hat as an obstacle or benefit?

Oh boy, that’s two very dense questions to answer. The easy answer to the second question is “yes.” Being a producer/director has it’s good and bad moments. The weakness of being both is that it can undermine the needed tension between the job of the director and the producer – directors need to fight for the story, at all costs; producers need to fight for the story…at a certain cost. lol  Sometimes my producer hat can suffocate a good idea, if it’s not held in check. And sometimes my director hat can get away with doing something that was not as critical as once believed.  As for my process – oy, well, the basics are reading and re-reading the script, then research, and then back to the script. It’s tempting in a play with historical foundations to try to put that history on the stage, but the bottom line is I’m here to tell George Allison’s story – not Mary Shelley’s, not James Whale’s, not Kenneth Branagh’s; not even Mel Brooks’ version. So, going back to the script is essential.

What do you want the audience to take-away from this show?

I want them to leave with questions and conversation! The play has several little turns to it, and I think there’s room for interpretation of Victor’s plight and the actions he takes to solve it. I would like them to consider that stories have multiple sides. The world we live in now is filled with one-liners, sound bytes, memes and propaganda – which makes the world seem very black and white. But if there’s any one truth in the world, it’s that there is no one truth. We all “knew” how horrible the Wicked Witch of the West was until Gregory Maguire spun Oz on it’s axis and told us the story from another angle. Like Elphable, Victor Frankenstein deserves to have his version of the story heard – and we’re giving him that chance.

What’s next?

Oh, how I wish I could tell you, but I’m sworn to secrecy until November 4th! Here’s a hint though: it involves a place based on the author of “A Confederacy of Dunces.” Keep watch on the Articulate website to hear the details!

 

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