Last year writer/performer Kate Healy was a Chicago Fringe Fest newbie but this year she’s back with a rave from Time Out Chicago under her belt and Lie Light, a new show which uses literal bindings to illuminate the repercussions of small, daily lies. Healy spoke with Our Town about the purpose of lying and the ethics of using real people as inspiration.
Our Town Is lying necessary?
Kate Healy It is if you want to be liked by all, never get in trouble, and never change. We say we like the truth but we tell and accept lies because we don’t want to own our mistakes and deficiencies. In some cases our pride is more important than someone else’s feelings, in some cases hiding evil is more important than watching innocence suffer, in some cases pumping someone full of faith is necessary to get the opportunity you’re after. But that choice, because it is a choice, alters you permanently.
OT What inspired your new show?
KH At the end of a relationship, I was feeling particularly vulnerable and started protecting myself with little lies. They felt harmless, but I was anxiety-ridden and impossible to get to know. My play is not autobiographical, but it comes from the feeling I had of wanting to appear in control.
OT As a writer what are your responsibilities when you write about other people?
KH I think they have a right to know. If you write about others it's not fully your story. I think it’s important to know why you’re writing, why you’re compelled to record and share the selected events and people. Lately it seems I only learn from true stories.
OT What are the ethics of using another person's experience in your art?
KH There is no need for apology. I don’t know if a true artist ever apologizes [but] you have to be brave enough to state the source, approach the source, and honor the source. It is humbling to admit that you learned from others, that who you are is a constant work of progress with contributions from anyone you’ve ever met or read or listened to. I believe it says something beautiful about art, that one might live and work in the voices of others to eventually arrive at what they want to express and find their own form of communication.
OT Your show uses actual bindings to represent lies. Employing a visual metaphor, how do you avoid being heavy handed, yet also get your point across?
KH I wanted to show in a physical and material way, how we guard our feelings. The visual of a rope being attached to each character gives the audience a complicated agency. It allows them to discern a character’s strength, see the insecurities that the lies are coming from, and watch how that spirals out of control or gets reeled back. It will be clear who is lying, but very difficult to decide who is right, who is good, and if the truth should even come out. The world of this play is set up by a narrator who is experimenting. I play Gracie, and she builds this thought-machine that allows her to see when she is being lied to, but as soon as hears truths about herself the world starts to break down. To me it is a symbol that if you’ve been lied to, the bigger problem is that you can’t believe again.
'Lie Light' shows at the Chicago Art Department Shows are August 31 at 8:30 p.m., September 1 at 7 p.m., September 7 at 10 p.m., September 8 at 5:30 p.m. and September 9 at
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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