In Part Three of a series of interviews with the cast of Proof at 1st Stage, meet Katrina Clark.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform before on our local stages.
Katrina: Hi! I’m Katrina Clark. Some might know me from Stephen Spotswood’s The Last Burlesque.
Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Proof?
I wanted to work at 1st Stage with Alex Levy. It’s fortuitous that Alex chose to do a show with prominent and dynamic female characters, intelligent discussions, and a realistic style of discourse— strongly attractive elements for me.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to this character? Did you bring any personal experiences to your performance and if so- what were they and how did they help you to understand and relate to your character?
I play Catherine, the daughter of a famous mathematician who has recently struggled with a mental illness. Catherine takes after her father, but her math skills are self-proclaimed and her struggle teeters on internal and external validation. Both are frightening plights for sure.
Personally, it’s easy to draw on the fight to be understood by others. Everyone can empathize with being an outsider of one realm or another. I have had people close to me battling serious mental illness, and I can definitely relate to the feeling of insanity as a contagion. And I find the real question is- what defines sanity, or talent. And who are those that define a person in this way?
What were some of the challenges you faced while learning your role and how did Director Alex Levy help you with these challenges?
Not to downplay the emotional intricacies of the production, but my most practical thing I learned was on how to properly open a bottle of champagne. Big shout out to Deb Crerie for that life lesson!
Alex Levy was invaluable in helping parse out Catherine’s logic. She very much lives in the moment, earnestly not giving much thought to what comes next. Even in dialogue, her way of communicating follows myopic provocations by other characters. It’s very interesting when she does take a stand to explain a thought to its completion; that’s where we found the meat on Catherine’s bones. And Alex knew how to shift our focus from all the minutiae to the larger story to weave a rich production.
What does Proof have to say to today’s audiences?
Nothing more than what it had to say to yesterday’s audiences, I think. In that— it’s a contemporary drama kept fresh by encompassing a range of familial, intellectual, and emotional desires for all the characters. Some audience members have formed slightly varying ideas about the main crux of the story and that’s more revealing of what the audience is relating to versus what we’re telling them to take in. Because of that, the dialogue with the audience is significant with this production; there’s so much to be mined from this play.
What do you admire most about your fellow cast members’ performances?
Across the board, I admire my castmates’ honesty in their characters. It made developing the world a really productive and enjoyable process. We were all approaching the same center of the play, but from four different corners of the room. Good stuff.
Which character or character is most like you and why and how?
Catherine. As an actor, there’s a lot at stake in being believed and understood— and breaking down enough walls to allow for emotional connections with other people, but without, you know— going crazy or anything.
What are your favorite lines that you recite and your favorite lines that other characters recite in Proof? And why?
My favorite lines of the play are the final lines because there’s always something left unsaid, but it’s slightly different every performance. It’s never been a moment that can just be settled into; it keeps me on my toes!
What do you want audiences members to take away with them after seeing you perform in Proof?
Whatever they want — preferably a sense of enjoyment for spending their time with us. But, mostly, I hope they leave differently than they came.
Running Time: Two and a half hours, with one 15-minute intermission.
Meet the Cast of 1st Stage’s ‘Proof’: Part 1: Sam Ludwig by Joel Markowitz.
Meet the Cast of 1st Stage’s ‘Proof’: Part 2: Liz Osborn by Joel Markowitz.
Michael Poandl’s review of Proof on DCMetroTheaterArts.