Katie Pearl & Michelle Memran (Residency)

February 2–13, 2016

Granoff Creative Arts Center

As part of a Fitt Artist Residency at Brown University, filmmaker Michelle Memran and playwright Katie Pearl ’15 MFA worked on a new performance and film project that involved the life and work of avant-garde Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornés. A workshop and informal showing were part of the residency. Sponsored by TAPS and the Creative Arts Council’s FITT residency.

Students were invited to join Michelle Memran and Katie Pearl in their multi-media, performance-based exploration of Irene Fornés. By juxtaposing characters and scenes from Irene’s plays with film footage of Irene after she stopped writing due to dementia, Katie and Michelle sought out connections between the artist and her work. The themes that fed both Irene’s plays and Irene’s life become the threads from which a new performance can be made, in which Irene’s characters become her companions and Irene’s own life becomes a play in which she herself performs.


Michelle Memran is a journalist, illustrator and filmmaker. She’s written about theater for Newsweek, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Brooklyn Rail and American Theatre Magazine. Her oil pastel portraits have been commissioned by the Times Book Review, as well as by various theatrical and film productions, including Anne Washburn’s The Ladies and Adrift in Manhattan starring Heather Graham. The Rest I Make Up is her first film. The project has received multiple grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, as well as the Frameline Completion Fund, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and the JKW Foundation. In 2013, she continued to work on the film in residency at Brown University and the MacDowell Colony. She has just completed a collaboration with editor Melissa Neidich (Dark Days, Two Towns of Jasper) on a rough cut of the film.

Katie Pearl ’15 MFA is a collaborative theater artist and author of new performance works for both traditional and alternative spaces. She is co-Artistic Director of PearlDamour, an interdisciplinary company she co-founded in 1997 with playwright Lisa D’Amour, and with whom she has won a number of awards including an OBIE (Nita & Zita) and the 2011 Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theater Women, given annually to woman whose work in the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change. Commissions/presentations include The Kitchen, PS122/ COIL, the Whitney Museum, the Walker Arts Center, and the Prelude Festival. PearlDamour is a 4-time recipient of the MAP Fund grant and a 2009 recipient of a Creative Capital Award.  Katie’s new play ARNIE LOUIS & BOB will premiere at Trinity Repertory Theater in April 2016.