Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Behind The Scene: Music for Emilia

With Othello opening on Friday, we thought we'd give you an inside look into the production. We asked our own Kati Grace Brown, who is playing Emilia in this production, to share with us a bit of her process in preparing to step on stage. Here's what she had to say:

Using music to mentally prepare for a performance is not a new idea- I actually stole it specifically from Kelly Criss Felten when I had the pleasure of sharing a dressing room with her in The Tempest in 2009 when she performed the role of Miranda for a week. Kelly is an actress whose work I have admired since before becoming an apprentice in 2007, so when I saw her listening to a playlist on her iPod that she had specifically created for that role (I believe “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid was on there… J) I really wanted to try it out for myself. It has turned out to be an incredibly useful tool for me, particularly when I am cast as characters that I judge to be very different from myself. Naturally I am very silly and not inclined towards stillness or calm of any kind. Backstage of Twelfth Night, for instance, I could frequently be seen laughing maniacally at the monitor (at jokes I’ve heard a hundred times by this point), throwing my shoes at people or climbing into the bottom shelf of the props cabinet (a feat that I am particularly proud of.. just don’t tell Cindy). Something about the rehearsal process of Othello, however, leads me to believe that I am going to have to stay a little more somber during the run of this show- especially since there are four apprentices in the cast who deserve a better “good example” than being pelted with a Grecian sandal. So I’ve chosen songs not always based on their lyrics (though sometimes I am struck by how perfectly a lyric from the 2000s can resonate with my character from the 1600s) but by the mood of the piece and the emotional response that I have when I hear them. The cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know” actually came on while I was at yoga class last week, and I could not get it out of my head when thinking about the frustration and the depth of sadness that Emilia feels as her marriage disintegrates around her for reasons that she doesn’t know much less understand. “Better in Time” by Leona Lewis captures the core belief that Emilia holds every time she interacts with Iago that, “maybe this time it will be different.” Spolier: it really never is, at least if we’re defining “different” as “better.” Our director, Laura Cole, has worked with me a lot in previous roles (Sylvia in Two Gents and Miranda in Tempest) of cultivating “beautiful stillness” in my approach to movement onstage, so a few songs are geared towards eliciting that feeling: “Cathedrals” by Jump Little Children and “Mad World” from the Donnie Darko soundtrack. There’s no rhyme or reason to the order of the songs- I just put the list on shuffle when I start getting ready, skipping anything that might not speak to me at that particular moment. Additionally, I also spent some time putting together a post-show dance party mix for the ladies’ dressing room that I’m looking forward to unveiling after the Preview Thursday! Because, let’s be real, if any ladies in Shakespeare deserve some silly dances moves and a drink or two, it’s Desdemona, Bianca and Emilia.

And here's her playlist:

Crimes by Damien Rice

Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

Maybe I Like it This Way by Lisa Ostrow

Mad World by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules

Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

Hide & Seek by Imogen Heap

The Girl in the Other Room by Diana Krall

Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron & Wine

Better in Time by Leona Lewis

Addicted by Kelly Clarkson

Freewheel by Duke Special

Bruised by Ben Folds Five

Closer by Joshua Radin

Cathedrals by Jump Little Children

#1 Crush by Garbage

Somebody That I Used to Know by Madilyn Bailey & Jake Coco

From Kati Grace and everyone at the ASC: Thank you! And we hope to see you at the tavern!

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