Opening night of ‘Kate‘ was palpable with an enthusiastic audience clamoring for the emergence of comedian Kate Berlant who brought her one-woman show to the Pasadena Playhouse playing now through Feb. 11.
The playhouse was transformed into the shrine of Kate.
From the black and white photos that greeted you in the lobby to the pages wearing shirts emblazoned with Kate in big bold letters, it is easy to see Kate has arrived in a BIG way. Even the restrooms were adorned with images of the various faces of Kate. She was everywhere!
As the audience waited patiently for Kate to grace the stage, we were entranced by an opening silent montage reminiscent of the silent film era.
When the curtain finally rose we were greeted by a mop man (Berlant), possibly an ode to the mop lady portrayed by Carol Burnett on her long-running variety show, that walked us through Kate’s family arriving in Los Angeles, I mean Pasadena, and how a football game at the Rose Bowl ended with them sitting in the Pasadena Playhouse.
The play is set on a minimal stage with just Kate and her camera. The camera her father held as she was entering the world and the same camera she found solace with when he left home leaving her and her mother behind. The camera her mother told her wasn’t that fond of her.
Kate has dreamed of being a performer and uses her porch as her stage and her life as the routine.
The camera needs to see an array of emotions from her – the most important one is her ability to cry. Kate spends the entire 60 minutes attempting to do so much to the chagrin of the audience who occasionally plays the third character.
The show follows Kate through her at times unhappy childhood, to her coming of age as a New York transplant mesmerized by all of the people and the happenchance opportunity to audition for a producer.
At times she breaks character to speak with the audience and her stage hand about how the show is going and we respond in kind. We don’t have to be perfect and neither does Kate.
She uses comedy to mask her sadness and come to grips with her life-debilitating illness of being anemic.
“I will never be cured,” she remembers the doctor telling her and her mother.
Kate masterfully weaves in and out of many characters of her life and how they have prepared her for her destiny. Accents and all.
As she embarks on many journeys you can feel her resiliency and determination to fulfill her dreams. She is vulnerable and encapsulates the raw emotion as she understands she is finally here. In this place and this time. Standing in front of a sold-out audience where she hopes a Hollywood bigwig will take in her show and cast her for a role.
“As you can see I am available,” she quips, alluding to being available to perform in the theatre through Feb. 11.
Director Bo Burnham was able to get every emotion from Kate that she needed to pull this off and the response of the audience screams “mission accomplished“!
Berlant is is an Emmy nominated comedian, actress and writer and can currently be seen on the Amazon series A League of Their Own, starring alongside Abbi Jacobsen and Nick Offerman.
To purchase tickets and view showtimes visit pasadenaplayhouse.org.