Ahead of the 44 Plays for 44 Presidents event on Monday, October 29th, I had a chance to connect with Kathleen Akerley, Artistic Director of Longacre Lea Theatre. Here's our conversation:
Jacqueline Lawton: How did your company form and how long have you been presenting work in D.C.?
Kathleen Akerley: In 1998 I formed the company as a sole proprietorship just in order to rent the Arena Stage Old Vat Room and direct a production of Macbeth – I thought it would be a one-time thing and then I would move to another city and build an acting career (my degree is in acting). Obviously that’s not how it went down . . .
JL: What impact do you hope to make in the D.C. theatre community?
KA: I have no particular hopes or agenda with respect to any impact I may have.
JL: Is political theatre important to you?
KA: Not as such.
JL: Why did you decide to participate in 44 Plays for 44 Presidents?
KA: I think the three dog&pony conspirators are bad ass.
JL: Which president are you featuring? What’s his political affiliation and campaign slogan?
KA: Benjamin Harrison - Republican; ‘Rejuvenated Republicanism.’
JL: What’s something interesting we should know about him?
KA: His first wife was dying during his reelection bid and he spent more time with her than on his campaign (and lost).
JL: Did he support the arts while in office? If so, how?
KA: Not notably, as far as I can tell.
JL: If he was running for office this year, would you vote for him? Why or why not?
KA: I’d probably go all weepy about the wife thing and give him a sympathy vote for putting spousal loyalty over political victory.
JL: In addition to 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, what’s next for your company?
KA: Our 2013 summer show! TBA: www.longacrelea.org
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I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!