Supporting creative work by women
Laura Kaldis stars in Robot Songs, which opens tonight in New York City at Theaterlab. The production from emerging company Forward Flux follows a robot that has been programmed to kill, but would rather join a pop band. Laura was also a part of Forward Flux’s Fringe hit last year, FriendAndy.com.
Works by Women spoke with Laura about why she loves working with this dynamic company and what audiences should expect from Robot Songs.
WBW: Nearly a year ago you were starring in Forward Flux’s Fringe hit FriendAndy.com. Tell me a little bit about working with Forward Flux. What makes it exciting?
LK: Working on a project with the creative team at Forward Flux is, without a doubt, the most artistically fulfilling work I do, in that we are all collaborating on something new and original. Don’t get me wrong, I have several “dream roles” from well-established works, but the opportunity to originate a role in a modern piece is challenging in a unique way. That’s exciting because you truly have the freedom to play and experiment. Forward Flux also produces pieces that have very current, and I think, urgently important, messages. It’s really satisfying to reach the audience in an honest and relevant way.
WBW: What excites you about Robot Songs?
LK: Several things. I’ll try to condense. Humans have this incredible gift of feeling, and too often we misuse it or put up walls for protection. We all do it, using various methods. This play reminds us that we CAN and SHOULD feel and that’s OK, beauty truly comes from within, and music is a very powerful tool that is to be appreciated for the magic that it can do. Also, this particular production of Robot Songs is utilizing some of my closest long-time college friends, including my fiancé, which makes for a very comfortable and fun process!
WBW: What should audiences expect to experience when they see Robot Songs?
LK: First and foremost, a night out at the theater should at least be entertaining and make you feel things, and I believe Robot Songs accomplishes this. But I also hope that those watching come away feeling a bit freer to feel what they feel and not apologize for it. It may help us all have more compassion for one another if we start from an honest place…it could be a start anyway!
WBW: What challenges face women in American theater?
LK: Oh…a lot, though some don’t like to admit it. Here goes…from my perspective and that of many industry folks that comment on this, the challenges are: there are more plays & musicals with more male characters, some of the female characters are played by men (usually in comedies or classic works) and this is usually not reversed, there are less “well written” female characters than male, and there are just more gals that guys auditioning so the competition is much stiffer for women. HOWEVER, Ladies, and I tell myself this often, there is no point in complaining about it. It means we have to train harder, search longer, create and network more, and with any luck, it will create career longevity and make you better than you were the day before. Just do what you do and show up.
WBW: What gives you hope for women in American theater?
LK: I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of plays and musicals that are truly ensemble pieces where everyone has a significant amount of material to explore. The two shows I’ve done with Forward Flux this past year had a pretty even number of M/F roles as well, and that gives me hope. Wesley Fruge (FriendAndy.com) and Scott McCarrey (Robot Songs) write REALLY well for women. The material is layered and appropriate, and it’s a joy and a challenge to work on. I hope more writers take the initiative to create complex female roles. I hear guys say they don’t “get” us, but I also hear guys like a good challenge. Just sayin’…
Robot Songs plays Theaterlab (357 West 36th Street, 3rd floor, between 8th & 9th Ave., NYC) July 11 – 14. Get your tickets here.