Carolyn Hoerdemann is the director for our final installment of WildClaw in the Wild, Rabbits, by Sarah Saltwick. Carolyn is a veteran actress of many productions with Trap Door Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and European Repertory Theatre, and is a company member with Collaboraction, where she recently devised the psychological thriller, “WeatherVane,” with playwright Tony Werner and actress Ann Sonneville. She has directed pieces for the past two Deathscribes: “Alabama Mermaid” and “El Grito de Rose,” both written by Jessica Wright Buha. “Mermaid” won the coveted Bloody Axe for 2011, and Carolyn says that was one of her greatest moments on the planet! We’ll be talking with Carolyn about what drew her to “Rabbits,” why we need horror in our lives, and What Scares Her.
What frightens you most in this piece? What resonates most with you?
I devise work- such as a multi-media dance piece in an 18th century dental chair called, “fix your teeth b*tch.” This piece (“Rabbits”) is strikingly similar in theme to “WeatherVane,” the piece I just devised, so I’m thrilled at the thematic synchronicity. Themes of apocalyptic situations and strange pregnancies interest me. (LOL)
How did you get into horror?
I have been aware of WildClaw since its inception, as I am a friend of the original Daemon. And I’ve danced with the Wild part of the ‘Claw in Great Britian. God rest his soul.
It’s also fascinating to me that we as a society continue to need horror in our lives, we will always want to explain the unexplainable, the uncanny, the symbolic. As I write this, I sit in my little room at Lily Dale, the largest spiritualist community in the country situated in the woods of New York State, a place where you have to be a (psychic) medium to live here. Since 1894 they have been talking to the dead. Just today a medium gave me a message from my grandmother, and it rang true. I thought, “I don’t care if it rains! That would be great!” And the medium said, “She says you don’t care if it rains, you think it would just add to being out here!” Uncanny? Or proof of spirit?
It astounds me how we all need proof there is a spirit world,and so I believe that WildClaw is a necessary company in the canon of theaters in Chicago and I’m so pleased to be part of the search, the madness and the fun. Oh and the beer and marshmallows.
How would you describe the central conflict in Rabbits?
Space, borders, safety; are we safer by sheltering ourselves and our children, or is there a better way to prepare for our future?
What challenges does a reading present versus a full production? What is the biggest challenge for this particular piece?
To make the piece as provocative and evocative as possible with little rehearsal and script in hand.
What would you be most excited to see realized in a full production of this script?
The climax which I don’t want to talk about it lest I ruin the surprise. But the piece is called, “Rabbits”… So….
How is directing horror different from directing other genres of theatre, both good and bad?
I think you must approach it all the same- good story- good cast- good designers and collaborators who inspire each other. Hard work, lots of fun, and fame and riches- for working with great people in Chicago is fame and riches for me.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen onstage?
I was quite scared by Wildclaw’s founder Charley Sherman’s “In The Flesh” at the Organic Theatre in the early 90’s. I had to put my feet on my chair, which is my own particular horror test. If a film or piece of theatre is scary, I cannot have feet on floor. This started with the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz and still stands true.