Featured THE TERROR FANTASTIC artist: Kassia Lisinski, Sound Designer

IMG_20170921_2108041. Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? Have you been involved with 20% Theatre in the past and, if so, in what ways?

I have a background in multimedia art and writing, the latter of which I have been doing since childhood. While at school at the University of Iowa, I began to move towards video and audio augmented performances of what I had written, and was quickly nabbed by the theatre department when they realized I was able and willing to focus on contributing sound to shows. I found that I really enjoyed it and am very happy to be able to work with a radical, equitable company like 20% Theatre for the first time.

2. What aspects of your [queer] identity do you hope to express through your role(s) in The Terror Fantastic?

I’m hoping that my personal experiences with identity-related anxiety, depression, and trauma– which already color my work– will find some catharsis in this production. One of the things that I’ve found so amazing about queer theatre in the cities is the openness and sense of community– it’s possible to be very vulnerable and true with work and be celebrated and supported for contributing that authenticity.

3. Why do you feel it is important to share this story/the story(ies) of this production with the community?

I suppose for the same reason as above– I’d really love to see some of the stigma of debilitating mental illness removed. It can be so isolating to be afflicted– which is really tragic because it is that sense of acceptance and support that a community provides that provides so much relief and healing to someone suffering from anxiety or another sickness.

4. What social issues are important to you and how do they inform the art you create?

Queer identity, particularly the uncompromising acceptance of all its aspects of presentation, is dear to me. I also care deeply for ecological health and the experience of natural spaces, and the ways in which those are tied to psychological wellbeing. I use a lot of natural sounds in my work with the intent of a peaceful emotional impact, while a lot of humanmade and mechanical sounds translate into anxiety and conflict.

5. What other artists or performances have inspired you over the years?

I have been very very enamored with the queer art scene here, particularly its diversity in terms of race, origin, and disability. I come from a small city in Iowa and there is very little there that is comparable. It’s been an exponential experience of learning and growing.

6. Are you working on any other projects or are there others you hope to work on?

I’m working on a one-act play right now as well as perpetually working on notes for longer stories. I also write poetry and occasionally try to get work published, but it’s something I’d like to focus more on over the long cold winter.

7. When you’re not rehearsing for The Terror Fantastic, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies or passions in life?

I work at an established theatre in their box office and administration. When not there, I spend a lot of time at home on writing, reading, bending myself into pretzel-like shapes, and lazing about with my very old cat. I’m not a super sociable person but I do also enjoy going to shows and spending time with a few much-loved friends.

8. In The Terror Fantastic, we get to experience some of the main characters’ fantasies. What are some things you fantasize about?

The destruction of capitalist-colonialism, and the ability to leave my house without anxiety jitters (these are not unrelated).