Interview by Keith Waits
Entire contents are copyright © 2020 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
Hannah Greene is a local prop and costume designer who has been active in the Louisville theatre community for the last three years. They have worked primarily with Bunbury Theatre on shows including The Green Book, Grace and Glorie, Boatwright, and Visiting Edna. In the past year Hannah has been a dresser for the Kentucky Opera and designed props for Commonwealth Theatre Company‘s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
1. Were you scheduled to be doing any shows that are postponed/canceled?
Yes, I was, at the time we were put in quarantine I was working on multiple projects. I had been working with the Kentucky Opera on their youth production of Robin Hood as their Costume Coordinator and had just finished work on Commonwealth’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire as their Prop Master. I was also in the early stages of working on Bunbury-ShPIeL’s Imagining Heschel, and was slated to design costumes for Commonwealth’s The Servant of Two Masters. As well as designing costumes and props for Bunbury’s final show of the season, I am CAT. I also had plans to spend the summer working with Kentucky Shakespeare.
2. Most of your recent efforts have been with Bunbury Theatre, but with what other companies have you been involved?
I have been lucky enough to work with the Kentucky Opera, and Commonwealth Theatre Company, as well as Bunbury. I actually spent the last week before quarantine in tech for A Streetcar Named Desire at Commonwealth.
3. You do a lot of things, most of them behind the scenes, how do you describe your theatre work?
I describe myself as a technical theatre artist, but my work is hard to completely encapsulate. In my time as a theatrical artist I have done a myriad of things from design, administration, and community engagement, as well as running crew. I love to be involved in all that goes on behind the scenes of a production. Designing costumes and props is my passion, but I absolutely adore crewing shows. There’s something so thrilling about being backstage every night. It’s been incredible to be involved in so many aspects of various productions.
4. Are there things you want to do but haven’t yet had the opportunity?
Absolutely! During the Kentucky Opera’s run of The Marriage of Figaro I had the chance to be back in a costume shop on a more regular basis. I love anything that gives me the chance to work hands-on. I’d love to be in a costume or prop shop more regularly. One of my goals before the quarantine was to build more of the costumes I was designing. I was planning multiple costume builds for various shows before COVID.
5. What shows or experiences are on your bucket list?
The biggest shows on my bucket list are Zanna, Don’t!, Bare A Pop Opera, You Can’t Take it With You, and Woman in Mind. All of those shows were very influential for me while I was growing up and working towards my degree in theatre arts. Bucket list experiences include working on costumes for Legends of Tomorrow, and visiting LegoLand! Just to name a few!
6. What have been some of your favorite shows?
I have so many favorite shows. My favorite musical is Bare A Pop Opera, and my favorite plays include The Little Dog Laughed and The Normal Heart. In terms of shows, I’ve worked on that’s tough. I tend to fall in love with every show I work on. Greetings!, The Green Book, and Grace and Glorie are just a few of my favorite shows I’ve worked on. Each show I’ve gotten to be a part of has left a unique mark on me as an artist.
7. Have you worked anywhere else besides Louisville?
I haven’t had the opportunity to work outside of Louisville, yet! But I’d love the chance to work in different cities. I love to travel, and I’d love to see how other theatre companies operate.
8. How is working in Louisville different?
Working as a theatrical artist in Louisville is so unique. It’s what kept me here after I graduated college. Before I found the Louisville theatre scene all I wanted to do was move to a bigger city to find work. I’m so glad I stayed here instead. Louisville’s theatre scene and the network are so interconnected. It’s made up of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. It’s also given me the chance to work with the most incredible people. I am the artist I am because of Louisville. This city has given me every opportunity I’ve ever wanted. I’ve found my theatre family here, people I could never live without. For that I am incredibly lucky. Louisville’s theatre scene is so embracing. If there’s something you want to do theatrically, Louisville has a company that will welcome you with open arms. I think that’s what separates Louisville from a lot of the other bigger cities. Being here has led me to more theatre than I could have ever imagined.
9. How will theatre in Louisville be different now?
I think theatre in Louisville will be more socially aware, and will change for the better. This is an obstacle none of us ever considered, but it’s not impossible to overcome. Now that our entire community is trying to work through this together, I think we will change for the better. We will be more conscious and innovative. If there’s any theatre scene that can adapt to this kind of change it’s Louisville. We have such a variety of companies and theatre that we offer. From what I’ve seen every theatre has taken a unique approach to survive during this pandemic, and every company will come out on the other side as a stronger more adaptable company. We will survive, persevere, and come out stronger than before.
10. What has been your quarantine playlist?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Needtobreathe, they dropped a few new tracks during all of this and are one of my absolute favorite bands. I’ve also been listening to their album Rivers In The Wasteland as well, it’s my favorite of their albums. Childish Gambino’s 3.15.20 has been played on repeat quite a lot as well. It’s one of the albums that’s had the most effect on me during the quarantine. The track “53.49” gets me every time. The refrain of “there is love in every moment under the sun” has been so powerful, especially in a time where I am missing so many people. I’ve been listening to a lot of music during quarantine and I love so many artists spanning various genres.
11. What book is on your bedside table now?
I’ve been reading more scripts than books lately. Otherwise the book on my bedside table is Costume Close-Up, Clothing and Pattern: 1750-1790 by Linda Baumgarten and John Watson. It was one of the books I had been referring to for Commonwealth’s A Servant of Two Masters. If I’m not reading scripts or various design and research books I’m usually reading a Japanese noir novel that’s been translated into English. I’ve been meaning to reread Natsuo Kirino’s OUT.
12. Now that things are opening up, are you doing anything this week that you’ve been unable to do?
Not really! I have plans to safely and socially distantly sew a cosplay with one of my friends. Otherwise I’m staying inside and continuing to social distance. While I’m glad things are opening up I am cautious and leery of going back out to restaurants and such. For the sake of everyone I want to help get this pandemic under control. If that means less socializing and going out I’m ok with that, especially if the end result personally is getting to go back to making theatre.
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.