The Road To Opening in Broadway World

The Road To Opening in Broadway World

By Kate Robards

My play Ain’t That Rich, a true story of the complex relationship I have with money, runs at The Marsh San Francisco October 20 though December 2. To give you some context for this show, I grew up in a small town on the Texas-Louisiana border, the sixth generation in my family to grow up there. Where I’m from, the rich people in town own a funeral home and a fence company. Most people who leave either have parents who pay for them to go to college or they join the military.

My dad left, and then died, when I was a kid, and my mom raised two children on a meager salary. My town had the, “it takes a village to raise a child,” mentality, and people there made allowances for certain bad behaviors I displayed when I was young. We had help from family and neighbors.

I eventually worked my way through a small state college near my hometown, and while my mother would’ve loved to help me, she just couldn’t. She makes about 25k a year and she’s lucky to have her job. The American struggle of living paycheck to paycheck is real. But I by no means have ever been “poor.” My mom would distinguish, “Poor? No. Broke, yes. Poor says more than, ‘I don’t have money.’ It implies you’re poor of spirit. Well, we have spirit to spare and the ability to make more money come next paycheck.”

As I recount in my play Ain’t That Rich, I met and married a man who was on the opposite end of the financial spectrum. Having money changed me and my ideas of self. Suddenly things I always wanted were available without the struggle. I found myself in a loving relationship with someone who was stable and able to provide for me with ease for the first time in my life. I had access to healthcare and education without a struggle. Plus, I had loving in-laws and the nuclear family I’d longed for.

Ain’t That Rich might seem like a Cinderella story of poor-girl-marries-rich, but it’s not about my relationship with my husband, it’s about my relationship with money. With that comes looking at themes like cultural capital. I always had a library card growing up, and you don’t have to come from a well-to-do family to have one of those. I also walk through this world as a blonde, white woman who has all her teeth, so there’s a certain cache and ease that comes with that as well. But when I was growing up, I always wanted to hide the fact I was broke. Once I married into a family that was on the opposite monetary spectrum from mine, I noticed people treating me nicer. I wanted to scream: “I’M NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM! I’M NOT THE PRIVILEGED PERSON YOU THINK!” I also realized I became privileged in ways that have nothing to do with money.

It’s been a career goal of mine to get a run at The Marsh, which is coming true as Ain’t That Rich launches its seven week run. I have been seeing shows there since I first moved to San Francisco almost five years ago. Entering a dark, simple space and listening to intimate stories is magical. I developed this show with David Ford, The Marsh Artist in Residence. He taught me how to examine my inner self through performance. The deeper I examine the self, the more I learn that it is examining humanity.

The Marsh offers a place where a writer can have stories portrayed through skill and craft. I auditioned my first solo show at The Marsh a few years ago, and it wasn’t ready for a full run. That didn’t stop me from digging deeper and continuing to write. When I auditioned this show at The Marsh as part of their Rising Talent series, The Marsh Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman told me after the performance that she sees a growth in me as a performer and a writer. That’s all that I can hope for. Working with her team has helped me improve and develop Ain’t That Rich.

They believe in me as an artist and are producing my first professional run. Because of The Marsh team, I can continue to perform and write new stories. The country and world might seem divided right now, but when you listen to other people, you realize humans are more alike than different. Stories are the place where we discover our oneness. That’s what I’ve found at The Marsh, and that’s what I’m hoping to bring to audiences during my run of Ain’t That Rich.For more information about Ain’t That Rich at The Marsh San Francisco, please visit themarsh.org.

Via Broadway World

Review: PolySHAMory at Capital Fringe

The title of the show – PolySHAMory – offers an important clue as to the nature of Robards’ experience with her husband – ex-husband – and their experiment in polyamory. The situation did not lend itself to marital bliss. However, as fuel to Robards’ creative storytelling, she mines her life from childhood onwards. Early on, Robards asks the audience if they want to hear about her childhood or failed polyamorous marriage. After several patrons express they want to hear about the latter, she responds, “Assholes.” It is amusing, not confrontational, and the monologue incorporates moments across her timeline anyway.

Read the full Review

2018 Capital Fringe Review: ‘PolySHAMory’

The show is constructed around Robards’ story of being thrust into a polyamorous marriage, a world of abundant love and more abundant confusion, a story which she delivers with a wry sense of humor, undercutting anecdotes of shoes lost in anger, and deep dives into The Ethical Slut with sarcasm and knowing nods to the seeming absurdity of her situation. As she narrates her descent further into “sex-positivity” with a performance directed by Maureen Monterubio, she leads the audience in a journey of skeptical acceptance into a non-traditional lifestyle. Robards’ jokes and winks create a comfortably comedic atmosphere, where we can laugh along to the difficulties of deciphering a poly-therapist’s many acronyms or telling in-laws you’ve become “sex positive.”

Read Full Review

PolySHAMory, Dangerous When Wet, and The Unaccompanied Minor are just a few of Capital Fringe’s solo offerings

One-person plays are a tough gig, even if the performer isn’t delving into their own polyamorous past, alcoholism, or divorce. Yet several solo performers will dare to cross the lines of bold comedy and intimate confession at the 2018 Capital Fringe Festival.

Kate Robards, who premiered her first solo play, Mandarin Orange, at Capital Fringe in 2014, returns with the semi-autobiographical PolySHAMory, about her misadventures in multiple loving. “I don’t think of it as [being] the only one up there because I have audience members that I interact with,” she says. “And people give you energy. It’s a really beautiful thing, where people will make a face and you get to respond and make a face back. It’s a living, breathing, moment-to-moment experience. Plus, I’m playing all of these characters, so they’re kind of with me as well.”

Read Full Review

Featured in Erica Bean’s bi-monthly Women in Spotlight series

I was featured in Erica Bean’s bi-monthly WOMEN IN SPOTLIGHT series!

Check out the interview.

WOMEN IN SPOTLIGHT SERIES: KATE ROBARDS

A funny story about how I met Kate begins with San Francisco. Every year San Francisco hosts a literature festival called Litquake, giving authors – famous or otherwise – read pieces of their writing work, poetry, speak on panels about the art of writing in the literary world. Kate and I both read a essay’s we had written and she came up to me after attempting to compliment my writing with her colorful accent but I immediately just wanted to be her friend once we discovered we were both from Texas and had found our way to the West Coast for various creative reasons.

As a performer, Kate’s writing and comedy are the precise balance of wit and clarity, capturing the facets of life that force us to come to terms with ourselves and the relationships we create with other people. After meeting in San Francisco life took us down parallel paths until they led us here, women with strong ambitions and sense of adventure, but now living in New York City. I couldn’t wait to sit and talk with Kate about her upcoming shows, including her comedy stand up shows around New York City, as well as her one woman show ‘Ain’t That Rich’, which was well reviewed by Maui Fringe Festival and played for several weeks in Montreal at the Fringe Festival.

What was the inspiration for pursuing a career in the world of comedy and writing? 

Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a performing, singing, storyteller. My singing voice isn’t classically trained, but I sure do love to write and tell stories and talk to people. I get that from my mom. I grew up in a small South East Texas town called Orange, and my mom was a newspaper reporter. She worked her way up to being the editor and now she hosts a radio show where she reports the local news. As a kid I’d follow her around to interviews. It could be the police chief, or feature on a one-armed woman who works at the Court House, or a family tomato and fruit farm that operates a business out of their garage, but whatever the story was, I loved that my mom treated everyone with a sense of humor and curiosity. I love that she got paid (though not a lot) to think and talk and write stories. Her job gave me the courage to do the same, though my path has been different.

In undergrad I studied broadcast journalism and even worked in newsrooms and hosted the college TV show, but my passion was always storytelling and theatre. I didn’t know if I would be able to make a career out of my passion. As fate would have it, instead of taking a job in a newsroom immediately after college, I ended up working for an amazing female artist, a Grammy Award winning opera singer Ana Maria Martinez. This is a woman who follows her passion every day and is devoted to her craft and her life in a very present and kind way. She knew of my longing to write and perform and she encouraged me. I’ve had a string of women throughout my life that have helped me. Too many to name. Professionally, in the world of comedians and solo performers, Lauren Weedman is an amazing artist and inspiration. She’s done like ten solo shows and she’s written two books. Befriending her made me realize, wow! People can make careers out of this. A helpful piece of advice she gave me after I wrote my first show was, “you either want to keep going, or you don’t.” I knew I did.

What do you envision as professional success and how is it tied to your personal beliefs?

Professional success to me is looking at a body of work I’ve created and being able to see my growth. It’s being able to continue working with friends. It’s being able to stay versatile and agile.

How have you weaved in your love for acting and writing together and how did you navigate the path that led you to where you are now?

I absolutely love acting, but I’m terrible at auditions. I’ve always had the belief that if a role is for me, it will come to me or I’ll write it. Luckily through my work I’ve met a lot of filmmakers. It’s fun to do projects with them and watch them grow in their craft and careers as I grow in mine.

I am currently co-writing a web series with some friends. We began shooting this weekend, and that process is fun. One of my dreams is to be in writing room one day. Until then, I’m having a lot of fun collaborating with my tribe of writing partners.

The solo performance medium is really fascinating to me. It just found me. When I write a show, I play characters that I meet in real life. They’re my versions of those characters, but there are definitely journalistic elements in my shows. My training as a journalist and an actor and playwright all come through. It feels good to know that my years of dance and writing and acting and public relations all come into play when I do a solo show. I’m a huge believer that no knowledge acquired is wasted. You use it in ways you might’ve never originally imagined, but it’s inside you, bursting around and looking for a way out.

What is the process like for you when you are going into your day on set or for a project, or is everyday different?

Regarding my process, every very day is different. Example, yesterday I woke up and went to Harlem to film the web series I co-wrote and am producing. Then in the evening I was off to the Bronx to attend a block party comedy show hosted by my hilarious friend Whitney Chanel Clark. This morning it was another day of shooting in the East Village at a bakery, and then I had a meeting about a play that someone wants me to participate in, and now I’m talking to you! The goal is to create and spend every day creating and making stuff.

Who has been a positive female influence in your life that contributes to your own personal evolution?

My grandmother Elaine-Ray Dupuy Toal was a librarian and she’d not only read to me, but she made sure I had and read all the important children’s books. I knew how much my family prized and revered reading, and I remember faking that I could read as a kid. I’d memorize the stories and retell them but I’d pretend to read. Call me a little liar or a future writer and performer, but I’ve been this way my entire life.

Of course Anna Maria whom I mentioned earlier, and Lauren Weedman. The latter was performing her one-woman show BUST at The Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. where I was working six years ago. I saw it several times. I clung to Lauren. Years later when I asked her help in my show, she said, “I was wondering when you would ask!” How did you know, I said…? She said, no one is this interested in what I do unless they want to do it too. 

What has been your most fulfilling project to date?

The most fulfilling project I’ve worked on was producing three one-act-plays, one of which I wrote and acted in, while I was finishing up my Masters of Fine Art at California College of the Arts. Each one-act-play was written by a female playwright, my friends Zoe Young and Vanessa Flores. We collaborated with visual artists to make the sets and put the shows on in a gallery space. The experience is a reminder that you can do it all if you really want it.

YOU CAN FIND KATE & HER AMAZING CREATIVE PROJECTS ON INSTAGRAM AT @KateRobards

IF THERE’S A CREATIVE WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE YOU ADMIRE WHO EMPOWERS OTHER WOMEN AND YOU WANT TO SEE THEM FEATURED FOR THE SERIES, EMAIL ME AT HELLO@ERICABEAN.COM

WOMEN IN SPOTLIGHT SERIES: KATE ROBARDS

A funny story about how I met Kate begins with San Francisco. Every year San Francisco hosts a literature festival called Litquake, giving authors – famous or otherwise – read pieces of their writing work, poetry, speak on panels about the art of writing in the literary world. Kate and I both read a essay’s we had written and she came up to me after attempting to compliment my writing with her colorful accent but I immediately just wanted to be her friend once we discovered we were both from Texas and had found our way to the West Coast for various creative reasons.

Read the full story here!