December 5, 2022
  • December 5, 2022
  • Home
  • Writer
  • Writer/director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

Writer/director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

By on September 26, 2022 0

Open Fist Theater Company presents the world premiere of To the Bone, a dark and funny comedy about family, baseball and genetics, written and directed by Catherine Butterfield. The play centers on sisters Kelly Moran and Maureen Dugan from the “Irish Riviera” south of Boston, where they were known as “tough girls” in high school. And since the saying goes that it’s better to write about the things you know, I decided to ask Catherine Butterfield how much of her own personal life is reflected in the play and what it’s like to write and direct it herself.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Catherine.

Pleasure. I’m grateful that Broadway World exists.

I’m curious – since the play is set in Boston, what is your personal background there?

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

Writer/director Catherine Butterfield

Photo credit: Miguel Perez

My family moved there from Minnesota when I was thirteen, and it was not a fun age to be uprooted. My town in Minnesota was very “Midwest nice”, and in Massachusetts everyone seemed tougher and meaner to me. After a while I grew to like it and on reflection I think I would have grown up to be a much more parochial person if I had stayed in Minnesota. But at the time, it was a big challenge.

Did you grow up with your own sisters? Are the two characters based on them?

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Tisha Terrasini Banker and Amanda Weier

I grew up with three sisters, but none of the characters are based on them. The dynamic of the sisters informs the story, however, the way they love each other but also drive each other crazy. I took my sister Darcy’s name, which is very cool compared to the old fashioned names the three of us have (Catherine, Elizabeth and Virginia) and gave it to one of the students. In Minnesota, people called my sister “Dorcy”, but when she came to Massachusetts it became “Dahcy”, and we all thought that sounded good. I wanted to hear it in this room.

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Amanda Weier, Tisha Terrasini Banker

Do you hope audiences will connect with events from their own past and perhaps learn to heal from their own personal experiences that haunt them?

I do. I handle some pretty tough subjects with a light hand, but there’s a truth behind the comedy that I think audiences will relate to, especially with these very strong actors.

Are you a baseball fan, or more specifically a Red Sox fan?

I was a huge fan when we lived in Massachusetts, because my dad was the general manager of the CBS affiliate there that aired the games, so we had box seats! I have memories of wonderful times going to the games with my dad. Go Sox!

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

Pictured: Jack David Sharp and Kacey Mayeda

Since the incident is included in To The Bone, did you or did you know anyone who was at the Red Sox game where a Yankees fan ran onto the field in the ninth inning and called off that who would have been the winning match? And if not, how did you do your research on it?

I was not there for this game. But I heard about it and found a clip of it online, which I actually play on a monitor in the lobby before the show. It was so unfair! (But I’m sure Yankees fans will disagree.)

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Tisha Terrasini BankerJack David Sharpand Amanda Weier

With your vast experience in playwriting, what do you usually find the most difficult when writing a play?

Access to silence.

Very good answer! As a writer myself, I totally get it.

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

Pictured: Kacey Mayeda

Did you always plan to direct To The Bone yourself when writing the play?

No. The play was chosen by a producer who intended to bring it to Broadway. Then the pandemic hit and it lost all momentum, like so many other writers’ projects have. When Open Fist offered to produce it with me directing, I decided I couldn’t wait for the stars to line up for the perfect production. The important thing is to distribute your work. I have other coins in my cyber drawer waiting their turn, and I am not getting any younger.

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Tisha Terrasini Banker and Amanda Weier

What’s the hardest thing about directing a play you’ve written?

It’s actually less difficult than conducting a work you’re unfamiliar with. You don’t have to guess what the playwright meant. And the actors assume you understand the project, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time showing off your knowledge to gain their trust. I guess if there’s a pitfall, maybe it’s that you’re so close to it that you don’t see the inconsistencies that might be better seen from afar. We will see.

Have you worked with any cast members before? (Tisha Terrasini Banker, Alice Kors, Kacey Mayeda, Jack David Sharp, Amanda Weier)

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Tisha Terrasini BankerJack David Sharp, Amanda Weier and Kacey Mayeda

I have! Tisha was in my play Life Expectancy at the Malibu Playhouse, a comedy about late pregnancy. She was also in Welcome to Your Alternative Reality, which I co-wrote with my husband. Ron West. I have known Alice and Kacey since they were little girls doing plays at Crossroads School with my daughter Audrey Corsa, who is also an actress. You could already spot their talent. And Amanda and Jack often appear on This Week, Open Fist’s This Week, a political skit that I sometimes contribute to. Also, Amanda directed me in something years ago for the Fringe, so we know we work well together.

Have you worked with any of the creative team members before? (scenograph designer Jan Munroelighting designer Gavan Wyrick, sound designer Marc Antonio Pritchett, costume designer Mylette Nora, props designers Bruce Dickinson and Ina Shumaker, scenic painter Stephanie Crothersand production manager Jennifer Palumbo.)

It’s the first time I’ve met all of them, although I know some of them from their work with Ron. They do a great job.

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Amanda Weier and Jack David Sharp

What do you think will surprise the audience in the play?

There is a revelation at the end of the first act that we carefully guarded. And they might be surprised that they laugh so much on dark subjects. I hope so.

What message do you hope the audience takes away with them?

Never give up.

Would you like to add anything?

Theater is changing drastically these days in many ways, and we need to be flexible enough to change with it. It’s all for the good.

Thanks a lot! And congratulations on adding another piece to your growing resume!

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Tisha Terrasini Banker and Amanda Weier

World premiere performances of To The Bone, written and directed by Catherine Butterfieldfrom October 1 to November 5 in Atwater village theater, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039 with free parking in the ATX lot (Atwater Crossing) one block south of the theater. Tickets: General admission: $30; Seniors: $20; Students: $15 with a Pay What You Want preview performance on September 30. This piece is suitable for ages 10 and up. For specific dates, tickets and more information, call (323) 882-6912 or visit www.openfist.org

Interview: Writer/Director Catherine Butterfield at the world premiere of TO THE BONE presented by Open Fist Theater Company

On the picture : Tisha Terrasini Banker and Amanda Weier

Please note: Covid-19 protocols as of the date of this interview include pmandatory vaccination roof for admission. Spectators must remain masked throughout the performance. Check the website for current Covid-19 protocols as of the date of each performance.

Open Fist Theater Company is a collective, self-producing arts enterprise with all facets of its operation managed by its member artists. The company name combines the notion that an open mind, embracing all people and ideas, is essential, with the idea that determination, signified by a fist, is necessary if theater is to remain a vital voice for social change and awareness.

Courtesy production photos from the theater company Open Fist

  Writer