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Have Faith in Kate Gill

Article by Jen Bush

If you find yourself at The Studio Theater on Theatre Row in Manhattan at the end of May, you will be treated to not one but two works by the talented writer, Kate Gill.  This seasoned theater veteran is grateful to the wonderful teachers and artists she has worked with through the years.  “I have been writing and producing plays for 25+ years. I have had the privilege of studying with some amazing teachers including Chiori Miyagawa, Glyn O’Malley, Forrest Stone and Tina Howe. Plus I have worked with brilliant directors including Ludovica Villar-Hauser, Toby Armour, Siobhan Dunne, Alexander Kulcsar, Frank Licato and Grechen Cryer.”

Since Pope John XXIII incorporated some of Teilhard de Chardin’s philosophies into molding the Catholic Church, it made sense for Ms. Gill to use one of her earlier works about this theologian as a springboard for writing this play.   “I developed His Holiness from an earlier play I wrote about the theologian Teilhard de Chardin. I belonged to a Teilhard discussion group led by Jean Maalouf, one of the world’s leading Teilhard experts. Pope John XXIII took many of Teilhard’s insights and acted on them as he worked to bring the Catholic Church into the modern world.”

The Pilgrim Soul is an extension of a previously written monologue sadly inspired by personal loss.  “The Pilgrim Soul began as a 15-minute monologue at the Poor Mouth Theater in the Bronx. I had been through a painful year where I lost three close friends to cancer. Near the end of their struggles, two had received from their doctors a half gallon jar of opioids with no explanation.”

The creative process of an artist is a very personal and individualized thing. Ms. Gill’s work as a communications strategist has served her well in her artistic endeavors.  Tiny seeds of inspiration found in unlikely places can also turn into fully realized theatrical productions.  “I have worked for many years as a communications strategist at a New York City ad agency. After thousands of interviews over thousands of hours, it’s still fascinating to me to uncover how people feel (often they cannot say) and insights about how they can be motivated. All of this work feeds and informs my plays.”   But the core inspiration for my writing is usually one small thing that inexplicably stops me and makes me see something in a new light – a newspaper item, a personal story, a scientific fact, or an odd comment – and I begin to imagine a story…”

Ms. Gill likes presenting works off-off Broadway.  Mounting a production in the off-off Broadway arena affords artists a myriad of freedoms and gives audiences a chance to see new works that might have never seen the light of day in more commercial venues.  “Off-off Broadway is accessible to theater artists to develop and present their work. It is outside the “ system” of commercial and non-profit theaters – free of most the restraints of the mainstream. Plus it gives audiences the chance to see new exciting work that could not be found in mainstream theater.”

The in-person interactions that are so crucial to human beings were taken from us during the pandemic.   Ms. Gill is hoping things continue to change for the better interpersonally.  “I hope that the pandemic has made people better appreciate their live, connected experiences. What was taken for granted in live theater pre-pandemic has now created an increased desire for shared, live experiences.”  

Next on Ms. Gill’s plate she will be sharing her experience in a wonderful collaborative manner with other artists culminating in a fabulous event.  “I have started a playwrights’ group at the new Legacy Theater in Stony Creek, CT. We will have a Reading Festival on July 24th.”

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