The K of D opened this week at Seattle Repertory Theatre, and its sole actress, Renata Friedman, has been getting a lot of press for her performance of the play’s seventeen characters. Less lauded – but just as important to the production’s success – is director Braden Abraham, who has worked on this play with Friedman for years. Curious about his side of the production, I asked the Anacortes native what it’s like to direct one woman to play so many different roles.
What did you think about the play after your first read through?
It’s hard to say…. I just remember responding to the vivid writing, the creepy tone, and the endearing humor of the characters. When I heard Renata read the first few pages, I remember thinking, That’s it! I was hooked.
Was this a difficult play for you to direct?
Yes. That’s why I took it on.
What is the process for directing a play like this?
It’s not all that different than any other play. We still have to figure out how these characters express who they are, and the nuances of their interactions. It’s certainly a marathon for Renata.
What was it like working with Renata? Do you two work well together?
Well, I think the proof is in the fact that we’ve been working on the piece on and off for three years. She is tireless, passionate, and obviously exceptionally talented. Most of all, we enjoy each other’s company (which is necessary when it’s just the two of you hashing it out).
A play like this takes a lot of suspension of disbelief. Do you think you are asking a lot of the audience?
It’s a shared experience for sure. I think the fact that Laura [the playwright] trusts the audience that much is not only what makes this play great, but it also points to the essence of what makes great theater in general: How strange and wonderful is it that we get together in this room, turn off our cell phones and connections to our daily routine, and conjure a world together?