Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere – NYC and its history, in particular.
What’s your favorite book / movie / line from a play / cocktail?
Favorite book is still John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany – it made me sob on the subway. Movie: harder, but among the most formative is To Kill a Mockingbird. Line from a play: anything Lady Bracknell says. I’m not a big cocktail drinker, but anything involving bubbly is a winner.
What production changed your life?
Oh, lordy, lots at different times! Mac Wellman’s Crowbar by En Garde Arts in 1990 is as good as any. I’d been in NYC three whole days when my friend Dan called and asked if I wanted to be in the ensemble of a play he was stage managing. Looking back, I can’t believe I hesitated, even if only briefly. The production was a whole new world. I’d never heard of site-specific theater before, I’d never read or seen anything like Mac’s work, I’d never imagined exploring every nook and cranny of a former Broadway theater (the Victory, pre-New Victory). The production became a huge hit, with celebrities in the audience every night. I met wonderful folks, like Richard Caliban, Annie Hamburger, Jan Leslie Harding, Juliana Francis, Michael John Garces, Lou Moreno, Richard Sheinmel and Anita Durst. I got my Equity card. And it entirely changed the kind of work I wanted to do.
Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Traveling to Barcelona, Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, Karnak. Singing in a rock band. Playing an instrument. Playing Beatrice in Much Ado, Martha in Virginia Wolf, the Chorus in Henry V. I am filled with aspiration!
I feel most like myself when I ….
Performing in a show… and riding in a car with the windows down listening to ‘70s rock.
What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I have done considerable fishing in my life – not in a while, but at one time, I was fairly adept at baiting a hook, casting a line, and gutting trout.
Catherine Porter is Co-Founder/Artistic Director of the OBIE-winning Peculiar Works Project, and has performed Off and Off-Off Broadway with myriad companies. She is Development Director for Dixon Place, and is on the board of A.R.T./New York and Concrete Temple. She was named one of nytheatre.com’s 2010 People of the Year.