Pointless Theatre’s production of Gimme a Band! Gimme a Banana! The Carmen Miranda Story by Mel Bieler and Patti Kalil debuts October 15, 2015 at the Trinidad Theatre.
Patti Kalil is a Brazilian native, residing in Washington D.C. She is Co-Artistic Director of Pointless Theatre, the 2014 John Aniello Helen Hayes Award Recipient for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. Patti holds an M.F.A in Studio Art from MICA, and a B.A. in Theatre concentrating in Set Design & Stage Management from the University of Maryland – College Park. She is also a graduate of The Juilliard School Professional Internship Program in Stage Properties, and a Forum Ensemble Member. She invites you to contact her via email.
Her writing partner for Gimme a Band is Mel Bieler.
Why are you a playwright?
I am a playwright because I am an artist who feels the need to exercise different parts of my creative process. As a trained designer, and not playwright, my education and training has prepared me to create stage pictures through painting and drawing. As a playwright, I can use that perspective, and bring it to a script from the very beginning, and allow for the text to compliment the design to its fullest. Playwriting is one more of many voices as an artist I am lucky to indulge in.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Multidisciplinary theatre excites me the most. Incorporating different mediums with the performative nature of theatre allows for a heightened level of storytelling, where every device, every choice on stage is created in the form most worthy of its content.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
I love getting inspiration from personal favorite art movements and particular time periods. There is always something nostalgic about my taste. With so much history and artistic precedence from past cultural icons, I usually first fall in love with a particular style or visual aesthetic that brings an already dynamic story to life.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
GIMME A BAND! GIMME A BANANA! The Carmen Miranda Story
October 15 – November 4, 2015
at Logan Fringe Arts Space
1358 Florida Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Details and Tickets
Do you have a favorite writing place?
Writing at home seems to be the most comforting place for me to float ideas. Having a writing partner like Mel Bieler, a fellow company member with Pointless Theatre and also long-time close friend, makes the process easier. When there is trust between writers is when ideas become more complimentary and heightened to their fullest potential. A table, way too much coffee and hours and hours of free time is the best formula.
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
Gimme a Band! Gimme a Banana! – The Carmen Miranda Story has been brewing in my mind and Mel Bieler’s (my co-writer) for years. Carmen Miranda as an icon has haunted my brain, her image, what she represented to Americans and mostly what she represented to Brazilians. As a Brazilian immigrant to the U.S., I felt so many similarities in Carmen’s identity struggle, not feeling quite at home in either countries. Her story is universal in that aspect, while also extremely tragic and legendary, as she became the first highest paid Latina actress in Hollywood, while being a political muse for relations between the U.S. and Brazil. Her story needed to be told to a contemporary audience, with a contemporary perspective, and we wanted to do hopefully do it justice through our play.
Which female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
Sarah Ruhl is one of the more well known playwrights that has inspired my writing because of her use of the fantastical and deviation of narrative standards in her writing. I would also say that all the females in Pointless Theatre has become a great source of brilliant innovation and creativity, and have forced me as an Artistic Director to take a well-earned level of pride in our work as female artists in a city like DC, where the theatre community is blossoming into a multidisciplinary and diverse forum for personal expression.
What’s missing from theatre today?
More play, more fantasy and much more mask work and puppetry. But I suppose I’m biased.
What are you working on now?
After Gimme, I will be working with Pointless Theatre on its Holiday Spectacular, a show where North Pole elves put on a talent show with Mrs. Claus and celebrate the end of year.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be
… ” an architect or communications operator”