Theater Creator & Director

News

‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail

Tech has begun for It’s in the Bag, and the piece keeps getting more and more relevant.

Case in point, another recent New York Times article: “‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail.”

Few Americans acknowledge they would hesitate to vote for a woman for president — but they don’t have to, according to researchers and experts on politics and women and extensive research on double standards in campaigns. Reluctance to support female candidates is apparent in the language that voters frequently use to describe men and women running for office; in the qualities that voters say they seek; and in the perceived flaws that voters say they are willing or unwilling to overlook in candidates.

Read the full article here, and get tickets for It’s in the Bag, playing February 20-23, here.

Rachel Karp
Paving the Way

I’m deep in rehearsals for my thesis, It’s in the Bag, a time-bending look at the time-forgotten lineage of women+ who have run for President of the United States.

The piece reaches into the black hole of history and excavates nine women+ who have run for President or Vice President, telling parts of their stories, and especially the media’s various responses to them. It’s been fascinating to research these women and find the similarities—and sometimes find exactly the same words used by them or about them—across time.

One such example appeared to me earlier today. In a New York Times piece, a political science professor was quoted as saying:

Although Hillary Clinton didn’t become the first woman president, she paved the way for Americans to start thinking about it.

This immediately brought to mind Elizabeth Dole, who considered running for president in the 2000 election. When she pulled out of the race in 1999, she spoke along the same lines:

I think what we've done is pave the way for the person who will be the first woman president. And I'm just delighted at what has happened because I feel like we’ve really made a great contribution.

How much did she? How much did Hillary? The current election cycle will help us find out.

In the meantime, It’s in the Bag runs February 20-23 at Carnegie Mellon University. Tickets are available here. It’s a suggested show according to this Pittsburgh February Theater Guide. Don’t miss it!

Rachel Karp
Drama League Residency

I am thrilled to share that this summer, I will be working on a new project through a First Stage Residency at the Drama League. The project, called Packing and Cracking, is a multimedia mapmaking event that shows the process of manipulative political redistricting known as gerrymandering in real time. I’ll be teaming up with fellow CMU grad student Joseph Amodei, a North Caroline native, to look specifically at the status of redistricting in that state, which was recently featured in the New York Times.

The 1812 instance of gerrymandering that gave the practice its name, thanks to then Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry

The 1812 instance of gerrymandering that gave the practice its name, thanks to then Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry

Rachel Karp
Happy Opening!

Late last month, The Waverly Gallery opened to rave reviews! Read just one of them here—and then make sure to see it before it closes at the end of January! Info and tickets are here.

Right after opening I hopped back to school to finish out my second-to-last semester, continue work on my thesis play It’s in the Bag, dive deep into a few other performance projects I have in the mix, and start thinking about what I might do after I get my MFA. A lot of really exciting things are starting to come together! And one may or may not end up having something to do with this:

Rachel Karp
Broadway Debut!

In an unexpected twist, I'm spending the rest of the summer and the first half of the fall assistant directing on Broadway! I'm assisting on Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery, directed by Lila Neugebauer, whom I've gotten to work with a number of times before. 

The Waverly Gallery follows a woman's slow decline due to dementia, which affects millions of Americans--and especially female Americans--every year. My summer at the Institute for Women's Policy Research helped me familiarize myself with some of the issues around dementia, which I've been able to share with the room over the past first week of rehearsals.

Performances of The Waverly Gallery begin September 25, with opening October 25, and closing January 27. Get your tickets today!

Rachel Karp
A Beautiful Barn, A Beautiful Time
Barn Arts!

Barn Arts!

Last week at Barn Arts in Bass Harbor, Maine, was absolutely magical. I got to meet incredible new artists, including Andrew Simon and Brittany Parker and fellow Hamilton Residents Clare Cook, Mary Rose GoBlake Horn, Keurim Hur, Alexis IngramJulia IzumiAnna Lublina, Jake Simonds, and Kristi Stout.

Working in the barn with Kristi

Working in the barn with Kristi

I also got to put in so much time working on my upcoming project It's in the Bag, which looks at women+ who have run for President of the United States throughout the country's history.

AND, I got to talk to lots of people about one of those women in particular--Margaret Chase Smith--who was a Representative and Senator from Maine. It was so inspiring to hear Maine locals--including current Maine Senator Susan Collins--talk about how much Margaret Chase Smith means to them.

One of my fellow residents, Jake, interviewed me for his podcast, "likenobodyslistening." Check it out here to hear more about It's in the Bag and my process for making it.

The summer has been extraordinary so far, and there are still big things to come. Stay tuned!

The Hamilton Residents with Barn Arts founder Andrew!

The Hamilton Residents with Barn Arts founder Andrew!

Rachel Karp
Workshop with the Builders Association

In the middle of all the other things happening this summer, I'll be in New York next week to assistant direct a workshop with the Builders Association.  We'll be working on their upcoming Strange Window, a take on Henry James's classic The Turn of the Screw, which will premiere at BAM this fall.

photo by James Gibbs

photo by James Gibbs

Summer 2018: full to the brim! To get a taste of what I've been up to at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, check out its blog, FemChat, which features a bunch of recent posts written by me (some with my name attached, some without)!

Rachel Karp
Barn Arts Residency

My summer is really shaping up! In addition to my internship at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, this summer I will be a Hamilton Resident at Barn Arts in Maine. I'll spend 10 days there developing It's in the Bag along with a host of other exciting artists and projects. Read all about Barn Arts' 2018 Season here!

I'm particularly thrilled about going to Maine because one of the more fascinating women to have run for president, Margaret Chase Smith, was from Maine. She was a Representative and Senator for Maine for almost 40 years. There's a lovely Margaret Chase Smith Library nearby that I hope to be able to visit.

Here's to summer, Maine, and Margaret Chase Smith!

Rachel Karp
Institute for Women's Policy Research

This summer, I'll be spending the bulk of my time interning at the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, DC! As my work engages policy, I've been wanting to get directly involved in policy and particularly women's policy and the research that goes into making it. I'll have the perfect chance to do that at IWPR. I'm going to DC as part of the Friedman Internship Program offered by Carnegie Mellon's Office of Government Relations, which funds policy-based internships in DC and provides extra policy-oriented programming throughout the summer. I'm so excited to dive into a new world--and to get to know DC's theater scene while I'm there! 

Rachel Karp
Devising Performance with Humans and Robots

Early this semester I met Michal Luria, a Ph.D. candidate at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon. With her I've gotten back into the robotics research I spent much of 2015 and 2016 doing through my residency at Mabou Mines (see: Let's Make A Lil' Human That Looks Like You And Me). But now, because of Michal and the robotics powerhouse that is Carnegie Mellon, I get to do the research WITH ROBOTS! I'm thrilled to be continuing and advancing my investigations into our robotics-filled future--and what it might mean for us humans, too.

We'll be getting down to devising later this month; stay tuned for updates from that. In the meantime, please enjoy the below very short video of a "Roomba Knife Fight."

Rachel Karp
Community Engagement Fellowship

I am thrilled to share that I was accepted into Organizing for Action's Community Engagement Fellowship Program for Spring 2018! In OFA's own words, the program's purpose is to "train the next generation of progressive change-makers."

As I continue to seek to make change through progressive art, I'm increasingly seeking to make change through direct advocacy, too. OFA'S Fellowship gives me a perfect opportunity to do that. 

Read more about the Fellowship here!

Rachel Karp
Next Up: "It's in the Bag"

Carnegie Mellon announced its 2018-19 season last week, and so I can announce that next year I will be creating and directing "It's in the Bag," which looks at the many women+ who have run for President of the United States throughout the country's history. Did you know that the very first woman ran all the way back in 1872? Her name was Victoria Woodhull, and she was a treasure. Start getting inside my head by reading up on her here.

Of course, Woodhull faced the kind of prejudice that all female presidential candidates have faced; here she is depicted as Mrs. Satan.

Of course, Woodhull faced the kind of prejudice that all female presidential candidates have faced; here she is depicted as Mrs. Satan.

Rachel Karp
Mixed Reality Performance

As a John Wells MFA Directing Fellow at Carnegie Mellon, I am part of The Contemporary Performance Think Tank, which researches specific topics on contemporary performance each year. This past year, I researched "mixed reality performance." As defined by Steve Benford and Gabriella Giannachi:

mixed reality performances deliberately adopt hybrid forms that combine the real and virtual in multiple ways and through this, encourage multiple and shifting viewpoints

My research was just published in full on Contemporary Performance. Read the full write-up here to learn more about mixed reality performance and some of its practitioners, including Blast Theory, Rimini Protokoll, The Builders Association, CREW, Yehuda Duenyas, and more.

Situation Rooms  by Rimini Protokoll

Situation Rooms by Rimini Protokoll

Rachel Karp
"How to Put On a Sock" success!

How to Put On a Sock had an exceptionally successful run! With sold-out, engaged, and thoroughly moved audiences, the interactive sex ed show rocked its performances at CMU. Thanks to the many, many extraordinarily talented people who helped make it happen, including actors Harry Thornton, Roma Scarano, and Jonathan Eric Norwood; dramaturg Emma McIntosh; and designers Yijun Yang, Yujia Zhang, Alex Fasciolo, Aaron Landgraf, Giada Sun, Joyce Wang, and SooA Kim.

Read more about the show in an interview I did for CMU's website, available here.

How to Put On a Sock.jpg

Additional pictures coming soon!

Rachel Karp
"How to Put On a Sock" opens tonight!

How to Put On a Sock, my investigation into sex ed and abortion policy and legislation across the United States, opens tonight! 

How to Put On a Sock.jpg

Those in Pittsburgh, make sure to come out! Those in other places, stay tuned for pictures and more! 

Rachel Karp
"Stories Women Tell"

To keep on the video train, I'll share one of the most powerful videos I've found in my research: the abortion documentary "Stories Women Tell," which is available through HBO.

According to HBO's summary: "Awarding-winning director and Missouri native Tracy Droz Tragos sheds new light on the contentious issue with a focus not on the [abortion] debate, but rather on the women themselves – those struggling with unplanned pregnancies, the providers who show up at clinics to give medical care, as well as the activists on both sides of the issue hoping to sway decisions and lives."

Hearing from all sides made for an illuminating and heart-rending 90 minutes.

Check out the trailer below.

And check out the companion website here.

Rachel Karp