Interview with Karla Brandau, Director of “Art”

Right before performances began for “Art”, we checked in with the Director, Karla Brandau, to ask her a few questions about the production. 

Question 1: Why did you want to direct this show?

I first saw this show in August of 2001 on the London West End.  I walked out mesmerized, questioning the actions of these characters.  And as various relationships in my life transformed over the years, my interest in these characters only deepened.  

Question 2: How would you describe your vision for this production?

Visually, I wanted to keep it simple.  This show is truly character driven.  The complexity of these three men and their relationship to each other is the focus.  I was fortunate to have three incredible actors cast in this show.  They’ve accepted the challenge of bringing these characters to life and not letting them fall into any stereotypes.  They’re amazing.  

Question 3: How has the rehearsal process been for this show? What has been exciting? What has been challenging?

The challenge has been finding a good space for rehearsal.  But through the generosity of Corpus Christi Catholic School, we were able to find a workable solution that allowed us to stretch our legs and really move around.  The exciting part is discussing the layers of these characters with the actors and finding those moments that make them human.  This show is a comedy and while there are dramatic confrontations, it can’t focus on the drama.  We call it “the wave”.  Emotions build, then subside, then build higher, and so on.  It’s an incredible feeling to see these actors fall into that rhythm.  

Question 4: What has been your favorite moment so far?

I have to say, Photo Call.  Watching the actors put on their costumes for the first time and assume the character for the PR photo, I could just see the whole production come together, even without the set!  It’s a pretty exciting moment for a director.

Question 5: What should the audience be excited about seeing or experiencing at your show?

I truly believe, post-pandemic, that we’re all examining the relationships in our life.  It seems we question the validity of the relationship –  what sacrifices do we make and to what end do we continue to do so?  It’s not a bad thing, I think it’s a healthy conversation to have.  I hope the audience will see these characters and their relationship to each other, and recognize, sometimes friendships have to be held up to a harsh light (or a white painting) so it’s foundation and future and can be examined.    

Bonus Question: Who in the show is most like their character? Who’s the least?

Most like:  Frank Mean, Yvan  (although not as neurotic, but he’s definitely a people pleaser – in a good way!)

Least Like:  Brian Heaton, Marc  (much too sweet, kind, and compassionate to be Marc)