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.
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:
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!
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 Go, Blake Horn, Keurim Hur, Alexis Ingram, Julia Izumi, Anna Lublina, Jake Simonds, and Kristi Stout.
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.
The summer has been extraordinary so far, and there are still big things to come. Stay tuned!
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!
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!
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."
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!
The piece I wrote on Mixed Reality Performance through the Contemporary Performance Think Tank is now available in book form! Check out The Contemporary Performance Think Tank: Currents (volume 1), available now through Amazon.
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.
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:
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.
Additional pictures coming soon!
How to Put On a Sock, my investigation into sex ed and abortion policy and legislation across the United States, opens tonight!
Those in Pittsburgh, make sure to come out! Those in other places, stay tuned for pictures and more!
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.
If you're wondering where my show, How to Put On a Sock, got its title, wonder no longer. It comes from a very well-meaning YouTube video, below, in which a sex educator in Mississippi demonstrated how to put on a sock because--under Mississippi law--he was not allowed to teach about how to put on a condom.
My second year of grad school starts tomorrow! The summer was wonderful, with devising a new play, directing a new play, and seeing tons of new plays across New York. Now I'm back in Pittsburgh and ready to dive in to everything that the coming semester holds.
Chief among that is the show I'm creating and directing called How to Put On a Sock, which looks at sex education and abortion policy across the United States today. It's inspired by Frank Wedekind's classic play Spring Awakening and actual sex ed curricula and abortion legislation. It'll be my biggest project to date, by far.
I've been doing endless research to create the show, and I'll share some of it here throughout the semester.
To start, here's a recent article from the New York Times about abstinence-until-marriage education--and how problematic it is.
Enjoy (as much as possible)! And check out How to Put On a Sock at CMU November 1-3.
Congratulations to Frank and Scot for their incredibly well-deserved nominations!
Read the full list of nominees here.
Hello and welcome to my new website! The old one was, well, old, and it couldn't do lots of things that websites tend to do these days. This new one can do it all and makes it easy to update on all things happening in Rachel Karp Directing Land. And so--here's update #1!
After finishing my first year of graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University, where I directed two shows (Oil and Watercolor by Seanan Palmero and Giant Slalom by Jess Honovich), assistant directed one (Opacity by Big Art Group), and learned more than my head can honestly hold, I am back in New York for the summer to work on a number of projects:
- directing Motherland by Cecilia Corrigan, presented at The Brick Theater through its This Is Not Normal: an Arts & Activism Festival, June 24th through July 2nd. We got a great mention in The New York Times' write-up of summer festivals--get tickets here and check out some activist art!
- devising and directing a new piece with Ben Hoover through theater company The Instigators, going up June 24th and 25th at Access Theater
- workshopping my big grad school second-year project, How to Put On a Sock
Check back here for update #2--and beyond--coming soon!