In Part 2 of interviews with the cast of The Flying Muskrat’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, meet Caity Brown.
Joel: Where might DC theatre-goers have seen you before?
Caity: Most recently, I was in Perfect Wedding with the McLean Community Players. Prior to that, I played Ruth in Blithe Spirit with Prince William Little Theatre and young, pregnant protagonist in the Southern drama The Cover of Life with Bowie Community Theatre. Theatrically, I tend to get around; I’ve been in about twenty productions in the metro area, with nearly as many different theatre groups!
What is it about GPI that made you want to be part of the production?
There were several things that attracted me to this show. For one, I liked the fact that there were only two characters, as I have found that smaller casts are more conducive to building chemistry onstage and to creating a tight-knit, coherent production. I also really liked the challenge of getting to play a single character at several different ages. It really forces you to find the essence of your character—those things that don’t change over time—but also to embrace your character’s complexity and changeableness. And I am always excited about doing a show where the female characters are more than just someone’s girlfriend, daughter, etc.—when their role isn’t simply defined by their relationship to someone else (usually a man).
Tell us about your character. How do you relate to your character?
I suppose if you had to describe Kayleen in a single word, that would be “damaged,” although I really don’t think that accurately encapsulates her. Her life certainly hasn’t been as easy as Doug’s, and her injuries are more psychological than physical, although she does find ways to physically manifest them. She uses humor to hide her pain, and is mostly successful in building this “Everything is fine; I don’t need anyone’s help” facade. It’s the brief moments when her hurt escapes that are the most thrilling and challenging for me as an actor. I can relate to her desire to deflect what could be uncomfortable attention from others—although not entirely, as I am an actor—and refusal to get caught up in drama. I wish I were as steadfast a friend as she is; even after five-year absences, Kayleen is able to instantly reconnect with Doug, which is quite remarkable.
What’s been the biggest challenge in preparing for your role?
The biggest challenge for me has been in not playing Kayleen’s subtext. I’ve had to learn to keep it just below the surface and trust that the audience will understand what’s really going on when I’m not trying to purposefully communicate it to them. On a lighter note, as someone who is pretty squeamish about blood, it’s been challenging to relate to a character who willingly cuts herself, and to prepare myself for a show with many “gruesome” sights and mental images.
What do you admire most about Rajiv Joseph’s script?
I like how it toggles back and forth in time rather than unfolding linearly. I think that more accurately captures how we remember our lives. Most of all, though, I like how Joseph’s script doesn’t provide all the answers or strive for a pat resolution to every scene. It doesn’t let the audience or actors off easily, and the same could be said for Kayleen’s and Doug’s lives.
FMTC is a relatively new company. What do you admire about them?
Building a new theatre company is never easy, so I admire the Muskrats’ initiative and fortitude. I also admire how they take risks on shows like Gruesome Playground Injuries, which aren’t part of the standard community-theatre repertoire.
What’s the most exciting thing and the scariest thing about starring in a two-character show and having the stage to yourselves?
When you star in a two-character show, you are given both outsize opportunity and responsibility to tell the story and make it your own. It’s daunting, no doubt, but can also be very liberating. What’s exciting is that if everything goes well in a performance, you’ll get the lion’s share of the praise (even though that is not entirely fair to the crew and offstage support). On the other hand, if you and your co-star have an off night, there aren’t many other people you can blame but yourselves.
If you had to convince one person to come see the production, what would you say to them?
After pointing out that the show is a brisk eighty minutes and the theatre is air-conditioned, I would focus on the deftness with which the show juggles both humor and pain. I don’t think it is a production that will fail to move each audience member in some way, and the characters are not ones that can be easily forgotten. You’ll laugh, you’ll possibly cry, but you will experience something genuine, both onstage and in the audience.
Gruesome Playground Injuries plays August 1st and 2nd at 8:00 pm with a 2 PM matinee on August 2nd at the James Lee Community Center Theatre-2855 Annandale Road, in Falls Church, VA. For tickets, purchase them online, or at the door.
Meet The Cast of ‘Gruesome Playground’ at The Flying Muskrats: Meet Ben Peter.
‘Gruesome Playground Injuries’ at The Flying Muskrat Theatre Company review on DCMetroTheaterArts.