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Sophomore Catalina Mullis Says: Theatre at Penn is Alive and "Well"

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Sophomore Catalina Mullis Says: Theatre at Penn is Alive and "Well"

Interview by Lydia Filosa.

Sophomore Catalina Mullis is starring alongside Professor Marcia Ferguson in Well, the acclaimed play written by Lisa Kron. Catalina is a Romance Languages major and Theatre minor at Penn. Well will be performed in the Bruce Montgomery Theatre at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts this February 27th and 28th at 8pm, March 1st at 8pm, and March 2nd at 2pm.

Can you tell me a bit about what the play is about?

The play is about issues of health and society both in the individual and community. It’s about Lisa Kron’s mom and how her mom was able to heal a neighborhood but not herself. The play is about coming to terms with that, despite Lisa perhaps not really having expected that’s what her play is about.

Can you talk about your role? What were some challenges of it?

When I first started off, I remember telling my director, “I’m confused!” because it’s a meta-theatrical play there are multiple layers of reality and I was always confused about what layer we were on. I didn’t know how to approach the monologues or the lines because I wasn’t sure what level of reality we were on. It started out very challenging and confusing, and I felt very distant from Lisa. With help from the director, I chose to focus less on levels of reality and instead the monologue and lines themselves. Getting up on stage and doing it with other actors, the lines began to acquire meaning over time. I feel that I’ve come very far I feel like Lisa now, whereas before I felt very separate from her. The audience is relying on me to understand her and to be her. Growing into that has been a really great learning experience.

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    • Sophomore Catalina Mullis stars as Lisa Kron in Well.

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How about the cast? How’s it been having a faculty member starring in the play with you?

It’s so fun and so rewarding to be able to work with someone who is professional theatre is her career and passion it’s so inspiring and such a great experience to be working with Marcia. She’s so humble at the same time. The most inspiring thing is seeing her take direction from Rosemary Malague, her colleague they’re on the same level and yet Marcia’s so willing to take direction and grow. She’s been such a great role model. Independent of that, she is just so funny in her role and she has been so great to just laugh with.

The rest of the cast has been great to work with. We’ll quote lines from the play in day-to-day life. It’s a lot of fun. They’re so talented and they add so much to the cohesiveness of the play. Everyone is dedicated to the play, and it’s great to work with people who care about the success of our piece. There are so many scenes where I think, if I wasn’t acting I would be laughing so hard right now everyone is talented and hilarious. It’s been great.

Why should Penn students go see Well?

I think the story relates to how we feel about our parents the battles that we face in trying to deal with certain decisions that they make. I think people will enjoy seeing the play because they will see it as very applicable to their lives. The racial themes that are explored in the play are applicable to current discussions happening on our campus about race. It’s theatre so its fictional, but it’s also true to people’s experience. It’s also a comedy drama, so another reason is to come and have a good time and have a laugh take a break from studying.

Lydia Filosa graduated from Penn in December 2013 with a BA in Classical Studies. She is currently interning for the Undergraduate Office of Admissions and the Penn Art & Culture Initiative.

Edited by Naomi Shavin.