Measure for Measure opens June 26 and runs until July 21 at Rock Ledge Ranch. As rehearsals get under way, we're excited to get this ever-relevant "problem play" up on its feet and in front of an audience! Get your tickets now, and prepare to enter the turbulent world of Shakespeare's Vienna, where judges clash with nuns and dukes dress as friars, until "some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall."
Based out of Chicago, Kathryn Walsh works as a freelance director, verse coach, and instructor. Her impressive list of credits includes many Shakesperean plays performed throughout the Chicago area, as well as productions with regional powerhouses like Steppenwolf and Lookingglass Theatre Company. Kathryn also works with students at Northwestern University as a Directing Program Mentor. Theatreworks is delighted to have her expertise and enthusiasm for Shakespeare's text at the helm of Measure for Measure. We caught up with Kathryn as the rehearsal process begins to get the inside scoop on Measure for Measure, working as a director, and her untapped potential as a park ranger.
Kathryn: Lebanon, OH
TW: Home Now?
Kathryn: Chicago, IL
TW: Who are your theatrical idols?
Kathryn: Ivo van Hove, Emma Rice, Declan Donnelan, and Tina Landau
TW: What would you be doing if you weren't a director?
Kathryn: Sometimes when I’ve been spending all day in a dark theatre, I have a fantasy of starting it all over and becoming a Park Ranger.
TW: Play you've always wanted to direct but haven't yet?
Kathryn: Hamlet (of course), Amazons and Their Men by Jordan Harrison, Three Sisters
TW: What is Measure for Measure all about?
Kathryn: It’s about people trying to figure out how to live in a society that is breaking down — some people go all in on the rules, some people light the rules on fire and roast marshmallows over them, some people just put their heads down and try to survive.
TW: Why does Measure for Measure matter now?
Kathryn: I have a lot of compassion for everyone in this play — whether I agree with their actions or not, I see them sincerely trying their best to navigate a very extreme world. It reminds me a lot of our world today — everyone has a different take on what to do about the issues that we face as citizens of the world, but also everyone is just trying to survive their day to day life in a way that feels sustainable to them. Being a person is often overwhelming and it helps to remember that everyone is working really hard. But Measure for Measure also offers us a chance to watch how these people respond to their environment and say, “ok, I’m ok with those actions, but those aren’t cool”. It’s useful to reflect on what feels like self-protection versus what feels like selfishness.
TW: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Kathryn: Exactly right, absolutely, let’s try it
TW: Which talent would you most like to have?
Kathryn: I cannot draw at all and all my designer friends make me very jealous.
TW: One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers?
Kathryn: Make plays for all kinds of audiences, especially young audiences, that treat them as empowered, intelligent beings. And I think we need to be in conversation with people more — no one wants to go see something that they think has nothing to do with them.
TW: What are you listening to on Spotify (iTunes, Sirius, etc)?
Kathryn: Lizzo. And entirely too much My Favorite Murder.