Katori Hall-Who Will Be One of the Most-Produced
O'Quinn, Jim, American Theatre
KATORI HALL--WHO WILL BE ONE OF THE MOST-PRODUCED playwrights at U.S. theatres during the 2012-13 season--is as photogenic as she is accomplished. During a recent outdoor photo shoot with the great American photographer Bruce Davidson behind the camera, the 31-year-old playwright made a silly, peeking-through-my-fingers face that Davidson captured with aplomb. When the American Theatre editorial team began casting about for a Season Preview cover image to emblemize the coming theatrical year, the shot of Hall in an impertinent pose tickled our fancy. But would Hall herself prefer a more dignified likeness? We asked her. "I'd love to have that quirky shot on the cover," she instantly replied. "I'm like that 99 percent of the time!"
But it's not just Hall's sense of style (also evident in a portrait by another top-flight photographer, Gregory Costanzo, page 27) that made an indelible impression on arts reporter Alexis Soloski, who shared an opening night with Hall at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and talked with her about the often intensely personal sources of her plays. "Perhaps the quality that most distinguishes Hall's writing--and which may alienate some viewers--is her refusal to write immediately likable characters," Soloski speculates, and Hall, seemingly unperturbed by push-back from audiences and critics, concurs. Rather than approval, she says, "for me its more about being adamant about my vision and having some kind of integrity."
Hall is only one of a number of outsized personalities whose work is celebrated in this oversized, info-packed edition of AT. There's a triumvirate of "forward-lookers," as associate editor Rob Weinert-Kendt dubs Polly K. …