What: Katie Rubin’s “Amazing & Sage, a Joke-O-So-Theom”
When: 7 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday
Where: Capital Stage, 2215 J St., Sacramento
Tickets: $15 each; (916) 995-5464 or www.capstage.org
In 2006, I wrote a review of a one-woman show called “Insides OUT!” I opened that review by saying, “Stop what you’re doing right now, go to the telephone, call Sacramento Theater Company, and order tickets for the production of ‘Insides OUT!’ the powerful one-woman show by Katie Rubin. It’s that good.”
Those who took my advice and were fortunate enough to see this extraordinary piece of theater will be overjoyed to know that at long last Rubin is ready to reveal her latest work, which she calls “Amazing & Sage, a Joke-O-So-Theom,” at Capital Stage’s brand-new theater, 2215 J St. in Sacramento, for three nights only, starting Sunday.
The unusual secondary title is because Rubin says her show is “one long joke/song/theatrical poem.” While her first work was a “no-holds-barred, emotional, funny, gut-wrenching look at the 29-year-old Rubin’s journey through alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, food addiction and self-loathing,” the current work centers on Rubin’s relationship history.
“It is a story, my continuing story, of the evolution of a human, me, as she trudges the road of deep spiritual waking that emerges as the result of letting go of dysfunctional relationships and relationship patterns,” she said in a recent interview.
Described as a “recovery entertainer,” Rubin began writing her show in graduate school in 2004. She explained that this show took a long time to write because she hadn’t yet lived through the things that she was writing about and she needed to live through them and fully heal before she could write about them.
“The story is about the healing pattern of unhealthy relationships,” she said. “I was simultaneously experiencing a transformation around those issues. It was very difficult and painful and uncomfortable to write.
“By the time I got the first act down on paper, I was so out of the relationship that created the impetus to write the play (that) I didn’t want to write about it any more.”
However, she realized she had something important here and decided to try to finish it. Then she created yet another delay for herself.
“I thought wouldn’t it be cool to be narrated entirely in poetry,” she explained. “It took me a longer time to heal the issues than I thought it would, and it took much longer to write because of the form.
“The piece is narrated poetically so the whole thing is a poem, but the moments that are not rhyming and poetic are the dialog moments with the other characters.”
Unlike “Insides OUT!,” where the many characters were all aspects of Rubin’s self, the characters in “Amazing & Sage” are not necessarily simply aspects of her own psyche, but six or seven other characters she encounters on her spiritual journey.
This is a piece that is about going beyond mental and normal therapeutic means to heal an issue that, for Rubin, was not otherwise healable.
“I needed to delve into really deep space of consciousness and deep spiritual states. I needed to go to great lengths to bring about transformation,” she said.
“This piece seeks to articulate that process with language that in and of itself is otherworldly. My interest is in taking people on a journey into another realm, and it’s cool to have us be already in another realm by way of language.”
In making her own journal through this transformation, Rubin sought a lot outside help. “I went to a three-year energy healing school, delved very deeply into Sufism and the healing techniques in the Sufi tradition. It was profound, the most profound healing I’ve experienced.
“I’ve done a lot of different energy work, a lot of therapy, Name it, I’ve done it. This, for me, is the most potent and the most effective in terms of bringing about actual and lasting change.”
Rubin began her career as a comedic writer/performer at Amherst College with her first original piece, “PartyBoobyTrap.” Her second play was produced through the 2000 New York Fringe Festival. “Insides OUT!” was her third original piece and her first one-woman show.
She is a graduate of the theater and dance program at Amherst College. She has studied at the Wynn Handman Studios, at Annie Bogart’s SITI Company and has a master of fine arts degree from UC Davis.
In addition to performing and writing original material, Rubin also works as a stage, screen and voice-over actress, and as an acting and vocal coach. While teaching acting to undergraduate students at UCD, she appeared in “The Laramie Project” and the musical “Falsettos.”
In 2000, Rubin made her television debut as a law student on A&E’s “100 Center Street” with Alan Arkin. She has continued to tour “Insides OUT!” to venues across the United States for the past eight years.
She came to Capital Stage because she had seen its production of “American Buffalo” and found it “guttural, visceral and inspiring.” She approached Capital Stage co-founder Stephanie Gularte with the idea of writing a three-person play that would be as guttural and visceral, but written for women, instead of for men.
“You don’t see that,” Rubin said. “Where women are all laying it out there like men do.”
Gularte liked the idea but time passed without any official commitment. Then Capital Stage received an Irvine Foundation grant to support female playwrights writing plays for women and Gularte asked Rubin if she was still interested in developing the play they had discussed.
“What happened was that every time I tried to write it, I would find myself working on the one-woman piece that I had started previously. I couldn’t help myself, so I surrendered to the process,” Rubin said.
The end result was a play about a woman written by a woman. Thankfully, Gularte liked it and felt it satisfied the requirements of the grant.
“I was very happy and very grateful,” Rubin said.
“Amazing & Sage” is directed by Janis Stevens, an actress and director. And, if past experience is any indication, those who attend this production will be in for something very special.