The Filigree Theatre presents the west coast premiere of “100 Planes” and we got a chance to chat with former NoHo resident Karen Harrison on her role in this project and theatre company.
Afterall, we are 20 theaters strong in the NoHo Arts District. But Los Angeles, surprising to most, is also a theater town. Support theater in L.A. How? See a show and be entertained live.
How long did you live in the North Hollywood area?
I lived here for 7 1/4 years from July 2006 to October 2013.
What do you miss about not living in North Hollywood any longer?
I definitely find myself missing parts of living in California, and my time in NoHo was a big chunk of my time there. My apartment there was the longest I had ever lived in one place as an adult. I loved living in a community where creativity was so valued. NoHo also has such a great neighborhood feel. It was nice being close to the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, but a little more removed and tucked into a community.
Why did you move to Austin, TX?
I graduated from the University of Texas Theatre Department years ago and always loved Austin. It’s a really creative, dynamic city and since my partner is a musician, it has a lot to offer her as well. I have family who live there now, so in some ways it’s always felt like “home.”
What made you want to become involved with the Filigree Theatre play, “100 PLANES” and how did you prepare for your role?
I met Elizabeth V. Newman through a friend at an earlier Filigree Theater production and when we discussed the rest of the season, I knew I wanted to be involved in this production if possible. It’s always enticing to be the first person to bring a role to life, and exploring the world of women in the military felt topical and necessary. I already had a great deal of respect for people who serve our country, but it was fun to dig specifically into the world of pilots. I found a great documentary about pilots training to fly F14s that was amazingly thorough, and a couple of other movies where the crews were granted the right to film actual flights. I can’t even begin to imagine how it actually feels to be in one of those cockpits. The decision making and the laser focus in life or death moments are astounding to me. It is an awesome responsibility and I am grateful to get a bit of a glimpse into that world. And in addition to some really fun viewing, I did a lot of reading about the customs and culture of being an officer in the Air Force.
The Filigree Theatre presents the west coast premiere of “100 Planes” by Lila Rose Kaplan at Broadwater Black Box Theater July 18- August 4 Thursday-Saturday at 8 PM and Sundays at 5.
“100 PLANES” is a bittersweet comic drama that follows three women as ambition, love, and passion collide on a US Air Force Base in Germany.
The year is 1997 and hotshot young pilot Lieutenant Kay McClure dreams of being the first to fly a new hybrid fighter jet. She begs the legendary Major Anne Clarkson to train her. Major Clarkson pushes Kay impossibly hard despite the concerns of Monique, Major Clarkson’s lover.
Produced by Stephanie Moore
Directed by Elizabeth V. Newman
Starring Brittany Flurry, Karen Harrison, Alani Chock, Brennan Patrick
For more information on The Filigree Theatre, please visit us at www.filigreetheatre.com
(l to r) Karen Harrison and Brittany Flurry in 100 PLANES Photo by Steve Rogers
Why do you love acting?
I fell in love with acting when I was a kid and then when I realized it was something I could keep doing, it wasn’t really much of decision. I always say acting chooses you.
Tell us about working for Miramax, Paramount Pictures and Oprah Winfrey Productions.
I started as a temp in Hollywood both as a way to pay the bills and to learn about the film world. My degree was in theatre and I wanted a hands on look at the business of film. I started in events at Miramax and after bouncing around as a temp, I wound up taking a full-time assistant job in production and development. I had the chance to work on “Frida” with Salma Hayek while I was there. The next stop was Lorne Michaels’ production company, Broadway Video, and “Mean Girls” was the primary project I was involved in. It was like being in film school. I got to be around from first draft to final product and saw everything from hiring the director, to casting, to editing, to scoring, all of it. It was a great education and a really fun project to be a part of. The next step in my career would have been a promotion, but my heart was always in performing and I didn’t want to be a studio executive. I was doing Shakespeare by the Sea playing the Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet” making very little money at night, and working at Paramount Pictures during the day. My heart was more on the stage, so I went back to temping and trying to focus more on acting. I did continue to use my development knowledge by reading scripts and doing coverage for a couple of producers. The Oprah Winfrey Network was part of my career in two ways. I temped for them for a period of time right at the beginning of the network, and separate from that I was fortunate enough to be hired to narrate two documentaries for them. I like being a well-rounded artist who knows what happens behind the scenes as well as on the stage or in front of the camera, so although I am no longer involved in production, that education and exposure was so valuable to me. And I do believe producing and writing are still in my future at some point. Currently, since my move to Austin, I am busy learning about the artistic community there, auditioning both for on-camera work, voice over work and obviously more theatre jobs, and I still have my VO agent in LA as well.
What advice can you give to young women who want to pursue careers in the arts?
I love being a part of the theatre community and there is so much joy to be found in the art of story telling. For young females who want to be a part of it, the best advice I have is to never be afraid to use your voice. There are so many new stories waiting to be told, so many old ones waiting to be rediscovered and reexamined, and so many reasons why women need to be equally involved in all aspects of bringing more live theatre to the world.
Any last thoughts?
I am so glad that the first project I found to be a part of in Austin has allowed me the chance to come back to California. I feel like LA/NoHo is home too, and I love getting to come back for such a great reason, to bring 100 Planes to another group of audience members in a place that is so much a part of me.
How do you support live theater? EASY! See a show and be entertained live!
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