Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the category “Director”

Lisa Rothe

Lisa Rothe, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenFreelance Director & Director of Offsite Programs & Partnerships at the Lark Play Development Center
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? Travel, music, books, art, my friends, the people I love and admire…

What’s your favorite book? Possession by AS Byatt. I have never cried so hard, reading a book.

Favorite movie? Dancer in the Dark.

Favorite pop culture guilty pleasure? I totally like reading the trashy magazines at supermarket check-out counters.

Favorite cocktail? If I didn’t get migraines from them, I would drink dirty, dirty, dirty Bombay Sapphire martinis whenever I wanted.

Is there anything you still dream of doing? Someday, when I am an old woman (besides wearing purple), I want to have a sheep farm, so I can card, spin and dye the wool and then knit and weave lots of beautiful things…and have a huge garden and a huge barn and a huge farm table and cook fabulous meals and have my closest friends over for dinner. All of the time.

I feel most like myself when in rehearsal. I love process so much. As much as I loved acting, I realized I just didn’t have the temperament for it when I was finished on opening night. I was so happy when I started directing and could leave after opening and move on to the next project!

What is your best escape? Driving. Anywhere.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you? Well, some people know this, but I was a biomedical engineering major in college.

Favorite line from a play?
Septimus: “When we have found all of the mysteries and lost all of the meaning, we will be alone, on an empty shore.”
Thomasina: “Then we will dance.”
(Arcadia by Tom Stoppard)

Lisa Rothe has developed and directed over one hundred new plays, musicals and operas, and has taught and directed at many theatre programs including NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, Yale School of Drama and The Juilliard School. Affiliations: Drama League.

Natasha Lee Martin

Natasha Lee Martin, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActress/Director/Playwright/Professor
Jersey City, New Jersey USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
Children/ The absurdity of everyday life / People in high power positions who do not take themselves too seriously.

What’s your favorite line from a play?
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde

What play or production changed your life?
Hidden A Gender by Kate Bornstein. I played Al/Kate in it about 10 years ago and since a mentor of mine, Dr. Noreen Barnes, had worked with her in the first production at Theater Rhinocerous in 1989, I had the good fortune to interview her about the role. She is a fantastic inspiration for artists of what it is to be a human, regardless of self-imposed/societal identities, and to truly persevere in life. More about her work:

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Turn our country’s artistic commerce away from this eco-capitalist system.

I feel most like myself when I ….
Am onstage exploring other psyches.

What is your best escape?
Sailing and teaching it to young people. The only time we are truly free of technological chatter and imposed media; to breathe and just be…

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I am obsessed with unicorns (yes I admit I had those pastel and medieval posters all over my room when I was younger). If I am alone at night I will sleep with the corner of the blanket rolled up over my head from when I was a child and afraid of whatever “thing” would get me. I still do it out of habit because the blanket has magical protective powers — obviously.

Natasha Lee Martin holds an MFA in Performance Pedagogy, and has enjoyed performing and teaching for the past 15 years. She has appeared in television and film roles on FOX, TLC, DISNEY, NIPPON TV JAPAN & stages throughout the USA. She is a Guest Artist / Asst Professor of Performing Arts.

Gerda Stevenson

Gerda Stevenson, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor/writer/director/singer-songwriter

I look for inspiration all around me, in my own and others’ experience, in the work of fellow artists, and in research.

I have many favourite books – Germinal by Emile Zola, Sunset Song, by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, and I love the poetry of Sharon Olds.

Ran – Kurosawa’s version of King Lear – is a superb film, and I admire Pather Panchali by the great Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

I love the line: “If music be the food of love, play on…’ from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. For me, music is indeed this – I come from a family of musicians – my father is the composer/pianist Ronald Stevenson, my sister the harpist/composer Savourna Stevenson, my niece the fiddler/composer Anna-Wendy Stevenson. And my brother Gordon is a violin maker. My son, Rob MacNeacail, plays bass guitar, bagpipes and piano, and right now, my favourite bit of pop culture is his band, Miasma, with their debut album, Feathered Feet – it’s memorably melodic, has great harmonies, and intelligent lyrics.

My guilty pleasure would be Crannachan – a delicious Scottish dessert – whipped cream, whisky, heather honey, and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal. It goes down well with a glass of champagne!

Two plays that made a huge impression on me when I was young were The Trojan Women, directed by the Romanian, Andrei Serban (La MaMa theater company), and The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil, by Scotland’s 7:84 Theatre Company. The former was a passionate expression of pacifism (like Kurosawa’s Ran), and the 7:84 production was a powerful piece of political theatre, about the exploitation of the Scottish people and their land by successive British governments.

My best escape is to go walking in the Scottish Highlands – by mountains and loch-sides, wild and remote places of my homeland, with my friend Jenny. We’ve known each other since we were born. We take our dogs with us, carry our tent, basic food for a few days, collect firewood on the way, choose where to pitch our tent each evening, and light our camp fire. There’s no one around for miles, no cell phone reception, and it’s paradise.

Gerda Stevenson: Twice nominated for Critics Awards Theatre in Scotland, BAFTA Best Film Actress Award. Nominated LPTW’s Guilder/Coigney Award. Original plays, and dramatisations of classic Scottish novels for BBC Radio. Stage play, Federer Versus Murray, shortlisted London Fringe Theatre Writing Award, 2010, runner-up Best Scottish Contribution to Drama on Edinburgh Fringe, 2011.

Kristin Marting

Kristin Marting, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector / Artistic Director of HERE
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
All around this awesome city every day.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
A glass of Argentinian Malbec

What play or production changed your life?
The Seven Deadly Sins – Pina Bausch

I feel most like myself when I am directing. In rehearsal, I fuse all of my different strengths together into a creative force. I love the rich and evolving collaborative process with the performers, designers and writers and uncovering the patterns that will get us where we need to go.

What is your best escape?
Going to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, seeing what deliciousness all my farmer friends have brought and cooking up an exciting gourmet lunch for my family

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I used to be a DJ here in NYC in lower east side clubs.

Kristin Marting is a director of hybrid work. Over the last 20 years, she has constructed 26 works for the stage. She is a co-founder and Artistic Director of HERE, where she cultivates artists and programs all events – including 17 OBIE-award winners—for an annual audience of 30,000.

Jessi D. Hill

Jessi D. Hill, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenFreelance Director and Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I look for inspiration in conversations with playwrights I work with. Hearing what they’re working on and why they’re writing plays is inspiring. For myself, I often seek inspiration in my neighborhood. I live a hop, skip and jump from the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park and The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I visit one of these places almost every day.

What play or production changed your life?
In my early 20s I saw Tina Landau’s production of The Time of Your Life at Steppenwolf. It was a wonderfully acted, beautiful production that I’ll never forget (and I often think of).

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I haven’t done nearly enough international travel and often daydream of strapping on a backpack and disappearing for months.

I feel most like myself when I ….
Am directing or hiking in the mountains of Colorado or running…

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I wouldn’t say nobody but not everybody: I’m a runner and have been doing it more and more competitively over the last 5 years. I just registered for my second marathon. I try to run at least 30 miles a week.

Jessi D. Hill is a freelance director and Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective in New York. New play projects include work at The Women’s Project, New York Theatre Workshop, Primary Stages, The New Group, Culture Project, New Dramatists, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, and others. MFA Directing: Yale. SDC. Upcoming projects:

Katie Pearl

Katie Pearl, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenPerformance Maker, Director
New Orleans, Louisiana; heading to Providence, Rhode Island soon, USA

Recent inspiring thing:  “Say what you mean, literally and in all other senses.” Carlos Fuentes was paraphrasing Rimbaud when he said this, in a beautiful essay he wrote about his own relationship to language, and his language’s relationship to his creative identity. In Fuente’s opinion, language constructs culture, and cultures grows and deepens through contact with conflicting ideas. Isolation leads to death. I like thinking about this in terms of a creative culture. That’s why it’s so important to see things, to read things, to go to workshops. Not to “get ideas”, but to give your own ideas something to grow against. Staying in contact gives your individual identity a stronger, deeper language, and a strong, deep language allows you to say what you mean, literally and in all other senses.

My guilty pleasure: has and always will be reading pop culture trash magazines while waiting at the airport or standing in line at the grocery store.

The production that changed my life: Pina Bausch’s Nelken, seen at the Edinburgh festival when I was 24. I saw it two nights in a row.

Katie Pearl authors alternative, often site-specific performance and develops works for theater with playwrights and artists around the U.S. Katie is co-artistic director of PearlDamour, an OBIE Award- winning interdisciplinary performance company with long-term creative partner Lisa D’Amour. Katie regularly teaches at various universities, and has a small life coaching practice.,

Marcy Arlin

Marcy Arlin, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenTheatre: Director; Artistic Director of OBIE-winning Immigrants’ Theatre Project
Brooklyn, New York USA

Two productions lured me into theatre with the magic of costume, light and transformation: The Caucasian Chalk Circle at Lincoln Center and The Tempest, at Stratford, CT. Ariel’s costume, and the escaping mother on the turntable of the Vivian Beaumont…magic.

I also saw the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Funny, entertaining, and meaningful. Then there was Short Eyes at the Public, Story Theatre at my elementary school…Growing up in one of the few multicultural neighborhoods on Long Island….

Working on Journey Theatre, with survivors of war and torture, for 8 months, convinced me of the importance of theatre and social change. And how to really work with marginalized populations, who may not consider themselves marginalized.

My favorite book/author? Yikes. Well, I have to say that Ursula LeGuin, daughter of the anthropologist Kroebers. Earthsea Trilogy and Left Hand of Darkness.

Favorite play? Blood Wedding.

Favorite pop culture guilty pleasure? Young adult and TV sci fi. Love collecting multicultural non-verbal language.

I dream of going to Patagonia to meet whales and penguins, or the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel among the corals. To help animals. To write a novel. To direct a play a year outside of the U.S.

What they don’t know about me? I wanted to be an anthropologist in college, I studied a lot of Tai Chi, and I can watch birds for hours.

Marcy Arlin. LCT Directors Lab, TWB, No Passport; Fulbrights: Romania, Czech Republic. Favorite projects: Eastern European Playwrights: Women Write the New; East/West/East: Vietnamese Immigrants Out of War, Journey Theatre w/ survivors of torture, Tropic of X (Germany), readings at MESTC, Sweet Karma (QTIP). Co-Editor, Czech Plays: 7 New Works. Professor at CUNY, Yale, University of Chicago. Marcy’s Blog at TCG

Tisa Chang

Tisa Chang, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenTheatre Director
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
From my past in China and to areas that have unsung stories such as Tibet, Vietnam and the Cambodian genocide in the 70’s which we made into the music play Cambodia Agonistes.

What’s your favorite movie?
Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn, who is my role model in terms of elegance and classiness and a yearning for the unknown.

What play or production changed your life?
Seeing Martha Graham dance in Clytemestra which had such power and earthiness that shaped my artistic directions; have studied dance and piano since age 6 and this was a revelation to see her perform.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
To act again maybe with Robert Redford (I was at Sundance in 1984) or George Clooney.

What is your best escape?
In Cannes by the beach

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
That’s a secret of course but salacious.

Tisa Chang acted on Broadway in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel starring Al Pacino, the films Ambush Bay, Year of the Dragon and Escape From Iran on CBS TV. Directed at LaMama; founded the Chinese Theatre Group which led to founding of Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, celebrating its 35th season in 2012.

Lenore DeKoven

Lenore DeKoven, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector, Educator, Author
New York, New York USA

What play or production changed your life?
The Eternal Road, a monumental historical morality play, written by Franz Werfel, directed by the famous Austrian director, Max Reinhardt, with music by Kurt Weill.

As a very small child I often accompanied my mother when she went to see a play my father (Roger DeKoven) was appearing in or went to meet him backstage after the matinee to go to dinner. This epic production was the very first one I remember visiting and it was particularly significant because one of the members of a huge and impressive cast of men and women was a small, nice looking boy of about eight or nine. The play was a Biblical spectacle with an impressive set of risers and shifting drops, together with odd, colorful costumes and haunting music. The storyline held little interest for me, but what did impress me was the boy. How clever he seemed. How much fun he seemed to be having!

Backstage, while waiting for my father to change, I was allowed to play on the steps of the risers on stage and I actually remember trying to duplicate the moves of the boy who in my eyes was so lucky to be able to do this every night and have such a good time. The stage seemed huge to my small body and surely a better playground than any I had ever visited. The combination of light, color and sound had created a magical world that I wanted to make my home. So this is where Daddy went when he wasn’t home with us. I was told that the boy’s father was also an actor in the play and I made a secret promise to myself that I was going to figure out a way to go to the magical world every night with my father. Dad brought me to the boy’s dressing room so I could meet him. It was awkward. I was very shy and didn’t know what to say, but I found out that his name was Sidney Lumet.

Lenore DeKoven has produced and directed on both coasts in theatre, film and TV and has been on the film and theatre faculties of UCLA, NYU and Columbia University. She has had two books published: Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre, and Twilight Man. Artistic Director: Our Workshop East.

Billie Allen aka Billie Allen-Henderson or Wilhelmina A. Henderson

Billie Allen, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor and Director
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
To myself and the many things that the universe sends me.

Favorite Book:
The Warmth of Many Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Favorite Movie:
I don’t really go to the movies. Maybe movies will be in my future.

Favorite Line:
“I would like to lie and say I love Raymond. But I do not. He is a poet and is Jewish. He is very interested in Negroes.” Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy.

Pop Culture Guilty Pleasure:
My MacBook Air – love It!

No alcohol.

What play/production changed your life?
Funnyhouse. Had me looking at life through a whole a new prism. The language, the particular kaleidoscope. Because I’ve encountered so many people tipped in the direction of Sara, toward self-loathing.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Oh yes. Big time. Can’t wait.

I feel most like myself when I……hear good music. Classical jazz, classical music. Bruckner, Mahler.

What is your best escape?

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
(Well, three people actually know this; my cleaning woman, my niece and me): For the past 20 years or so I always have 36 pairs of underwear – white cotton knit from Marks and Spencer (London); my niece Candace, who lives in London, is my procurer. This is my security blanket. I feel perfectly calm and secure about anything I might encounter.

Billie Allen: Born January 13, 1925, in Richmond, Virginia, I always knew I would be involved in theatre. I began as a classically trained dancer. First Broadway show: On the Town. As an actor, Mamba’s Daughters with Ethel Waters was my first play. More Broadway, including A Raisin in the Sun. A natural progression — I became a director.

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