DORA: Insights from Director Kellie Yvonne Raines

KYRAs our next KOLT show, ADORATION OF DORA, rolls through the rehearsal process, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to hear from our incredible director and KOLT Associate Artist, Kellie Yvonne Raines. KOLT audiences will remember Kellie from previous productions Escape From Happiness, Antigone, Vinegar Tom and My Own Stranger. With DORA, Kellie is flexing her artistic muscles in entirely different ways and it is a joy to work with her in this new capacity. We asked her to share her thoughts and insights on the script and process so far.

“What if there is nothing left? What if, when I look through my lens, nothing is there?” ~ Dora, Adoration of Dora

What. That quote by itself is what inspired me to take on this project. Like Dora, like every artist, I always have the fear that this time, the well of my imagination, artistry, and voice will be empty—void. However, it is the choice to dive in with that fear that forges the most unique and compelling art and experiences. My favorite artistic projects are the ones I don’t know how to do—maddeningly difficult, without glossaries of answers in the back pages of some dog-eared book tested by another before me. Sometimes it’s a matter of knowing what I don’t want and carving the path from there. The first time I read Adoration of Dora with the lens of a director I knew the road less traveled was the way to go with this story, this production.

“Art should disturb the order of things.” ~ Dora, Adoration of Dora

_MG_9962How. The individual components of how we’re staging this script are not new to theatre. Rather, it’s the choices we’re making in concert with each other that don’t follow an easy order of things—of before—especially when we could have made it easier, but chose differently. I wanted to stage the story in an alternative space. I wanted the story and actors to live in the round or a deep three-quarter thrust. And while the script requires an extreme amount of images (I have extensive spreadsheets just mapping the images alone), I didn’t want to go the easy and popular route of using projections. I wanted the images, as much as the actors, to have breath. I wanted there to be physical art in a show about art. I come to theatre first as an actor, second as a writer, and recently as a director. Throughout my training and experience in theatre, I’ve recognized repeating elements that appeal to my storytelling aesthetic. And I’m embracing them in this production. I am deeply moved by bodies, scripts, and scenic elements that have and use breath. I love sculptural elements—whether in the negative spaces created by bodies or by scenic elements. I love the rhythm of language that can only be fully realized in a theatrical setting. I am drawn to questions of identity. The Adoration for Dora is the perfect invitation to stage what I love most about theatre—story, sculpture, sound…and identity. And this play is the perfect vehicle to ask questions.

“Do you want me in any special way?” ~ Dora, Adoration of Dora

Why. We are going through an extensive rehearsal process. We began with in-depth table work which included the playwright. We’re asking questions about everything—Why is this character silent here for so long? Why the dog? Why do these sentences begin with the same word? Why is that sentence only one word? Why does this image matter? Why is there a frame here? How will we represent that image? And why that way? How will this prop matter along with the why? Why? A million whys and hows and more. We’re investigating movement—space, weight, time, flow. We’re using dance and rhythm. And these actors, designers, and producers are building something—moment by moment, frame by frame, step by step.

“Ask any poet, any painter. Ask anyone who creates, imagines, daydreams. For God’s sake, ask anyone who has faith in anything! None of that can exist without listening to one’s inner voice.” ~ Maar, Adoration of Dora

_MG_0410Listen. As artists we must listen to our inner voice—the questions and the answers. The Adoration of Dora brings us the story of Dora Maar, one artist in history who struggled to find and listen to her inner voice vs. being consumed by another—one of the biggest voices of all—Picasso. Her identity and struggle to realize herself and her potential away from Picasso is universal at the elemental level. While we all may not have our own personal Picasso in our lives, we all know the challenge and the joy in discovering our own voice independent of any other voice—of realizing our potential amidst all of the noise. I’m not entirely sure what the end product will be. But I’m in love with the process and the collaboration of this group disturbing the order of things.

Tickets are selling quickly! So make sure to order yours today on our website at!


~ by KOLT Run Creations on September 10, 2015.

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