|Kate plays Brooke in the Colorado Premiere of Other Desert Cities|
We sat down with Kate Berry Mann, who is currently playing Brooke in the Colorado premiere of Other Desert Cities, to chat about her role and thoughts on the play. Kate suggested that we meet at Urban Steam (everyone should check out this great coffee spot), so the first thing we learned is that she has great taste in coffee shops!
What first attracted you to this play, Other Desert Cities?
Kate: I had gone to New York City and seen another play at the Lincoln Center, and I saw that Other Desert Cities was playing there too. So when I was looking for another show to see, I looked at that one, and it piqued my interest. When Scott announced that it would be part of this theatre season, I emailed him and said that I was interested in auditioning for it. It’s a story about a family, and I think it represents a lot of how divided this country is right now, but it gives a human side to that division. In the end, both sides want the same thing, they just express it differently.
What do you like about the play? Is there anything you don’t like about it?
K: What I like about the play is that the dialogue is written really well. It’s only five people, and I like smaller plays sometimes. I also like the fights that happen. There are very strong points of view on either side. I don’t think there is anything I don’t like about it, but there are struggles. You learn that my character, Brooke, had a breakdown a few years prior, but the audience doesn’t get to see that, because the play takes place over only one day. So it’s been a challenge to me to find places where you can still see that depression in Brooke, and to present that.
Other Desert Cities was nominated for several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. What do you think makes this play stand out from other plays?
K: I think people are really interested in the American family, and the points of view that happen within families. Like a lot of kids nowadays, the parents might be more conservative, and the children have differing views. That is key in this play. And also, our country seems so divided right now. You’re either on this side, or that side. Sometimes it seems like there’s no in between, even though there really is. I think this play represents that gray area, and deals with the question of why family members do the things they do.
This play is part of an ongoing series at the Fine Arts Center of artworks, plays, and movies that focus on the concept of family. What are your thoughts about the family in Other Desert Cities? Are they relatable?
K: Family dynamics can be really similar in a lot of ways. You usually have families who have a wide variety of opinions happening. In this story, one kid does something that messes up the equilibrium of things, and the family has to deal with that. I think that’s what is relatable.
Who is your character, and what is she going through?
K: I am the one who upsets the equilibrium. I play Brooke, and she’s the middle child. She’s a writer, and she went through a nervous breakdown. She hasn’t been home in six years, and this is the first time she’s been back to California. She brings this book she’s written, and it’s a memoir of her difficult time. Her older brother, who died, was sort of a radical liberal who had gotten involved in some pretty nasty things. He was kind of messed up, and from Brooke’s perspective, her parents turned him away when he needed help. It’s something that her parents don’t really want out in the public, so that creates conflict. All these characters have so many layers going on, and Brooke is the one who comes in and wants to uncover these layers.
Other Desert Cities
March 14–31, 2013