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Character Forum

Katie Northlich performs solo show at Juvie Hall

A talented creator of comic characters, Katie Northlich takes her new one-woman show beyond just showcasing those characters, adding an extra layer of humor in the interaction between one of her characters and all the rest.

As Rayna Bernham, a zealous Columbia University journalism student, Northlich frames the rest of the characters as subjects of Rayna’s interviews in a broadcast journalism thesis being presented as the show. Within this structure, Northlich reveals facets of Rayna’s character -- switching between Rayna and the other characters -- piece by piece over the course of this one-hour show, building a pattern of Rayna pushing her interviewees to change something about their lives, usually by taking risks they are reluctant to take.

From this, Northlich pulls unexpected comedy out of the interviewee characters’ reactions to Rayna -- which are far from compliant. For all the flaws Northlich puts in the other characters, both male and female, including a Queens grandmother, a female singer-songwriter of limited success, a Wall Street hotshot, a butcher, a beat poet, a Minnesota housewife and a butch female attorney -- none are mere caricatures. Northlich makes each of them very different people, displaying a clear skill at crafting multiple personas.

As a result, “Character Forum: A Thesis” becomes more than just a showcase, but a comedic work as developed as any comedic play with multiple actors and a playwright’s script would be.

Katie Northlich performs “Character Forum: A Thesis” on September 7,8 and 9 in the Fashion Play Festival.




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