BWW Interview: Kaitlyn Valor Bourque Calls Out Institutionalized Rape Culture in THE INTERFERENCE at Matrix Theatre Company
Right now, we are living in a time where more and more people, especially women, are coming out about being sexually assaulted. As such, I can think of no better time to see a play such as The Interference at Matrix Theatre Company in downtown Detroit. Playing from March 22nd to April 14th, The Interference is hailed as "a story for a world in the midst of a tectonic cultural shift that is shaking our patriarchal society to its core." BroadwayWorld Detroit had the opportunity to interview the director of this important play, Kaitlyn Valor Bourque. You can read this interview below.
For an introduction, can you give our readers a brief background of yourself and your theatre career?
Kaitlyn Valor Bourque: I was introduced to the stage very early in life and have never been able to stray far from performing. I studied dance as a young person and was heavily involved in my high school's choir and drama programs. After high school, I studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City before relocating to Detroit in 2011, where I studied English and Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies at Wayne State University. In 2013 I co-produced, directed, and performed in a production of The Vagina Monologues for the university's student organization, the Feminist Collective of Detroit. In 2014 I joined Slipstream Theatre Initiative and began building momentum as an actor in the area, appearing in productions at Open Book Theatre, Matrix Theatre, and Planet Ant Theatre. In 2017 I joined Planet Ant's team as social media / marketing director and have had the pleasure of producing, directing, and performing in a variety of creative endeavors there - including Boxfest Detroit 2019, where I made my directorial debut and was awarded an Assistant-Director mentorship with Casaundra Freeman at Matrix Theatre.
How would you describe The Interference in your own words?
A visceral and familiar representation of everyday experiences in a modern society plagued by institutionalized rape culture.
What was your introduction to The Interference?
I was introduced to The Interference while assistant-directing Matrix Theatre's production of Well-Intentioned White People. The way Matrix's Artistic Director, Megan Buckley-Ball, described the script's unique structure and unnervingly topical content piqued my curiosity on both an artistic and personal level. I asked to read the script, and by the end of that initial read I knew it was something I needed to be a part of one way or another.
What made you particularly keen to direct this play?
Before I finished my first read of the script, I knew I could tell the story that needed to be told with Lynda Radley's words and vision. Creatively, its style and structure presented an opportunity and a challenge that gave me that "buzz" - the one that comes when you find something unlike anything you've ever seen before; that touches something in you in a way that feels like you've been waiting forever to find it. Personally, I felt utterly compelled as I have a deeply close relationship to one of the Sister Survivors in the case against Larry Nassar and Michigan State University. I have seen firsthand the depths institutions will go to in an effort to silence, shame, and stifle survivors while trying to protect its "stars" both on and off the field.
What do you believe are the main takeaways from this play?
The reasons why survivors don't speak are endless and complex, the consequences of which are lasting and life-altering - and completely, utterly avoidable when people in power do their job properly.
What relevance do you see in The Interference for modern day American society?
At a time when our own public institutions are facing accountability on unprecedented levels, The Interference is a disturbingly accurate and searing portrayal of one of our society's most prevalent and insidious issues: the historically conditioned mistrust of women, and systemic delegitimisation of women's lived experiences - specifically, with regard to rape and sexual assault.
What would you say to someone with no prior knowledge of The Interference to get them to come see this production?
I would tell them that The Interference is a story they know, but have maybe never looked at from this many angles before. I would tell them that they absolutely have a "Karen" in their own life - whether they're aware of it, or not.
I would also stress that while this production does not contain graphic depictions of rape or sexual assault, much of the language in The Interference is highly triggering, misogynistic, and victim-blaming. It holds back very little in its effort to adequately portray the effects of institutionalized rape culture, not just on college campuses but throughout our society at large.
Do you have any social media accounts you'd like BWW readers to follow?
The Interference runs March 22nd through April 14th at Matrix Theatre in the heart of Mexicantown in downtown Detroit. For more information and tickets, visit https://www.matrixtheatre.org/.
Connect with Meadow Brook Theatre on Twitter at @MatrixTheatre, on Instagram at @matrixtheatre, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MatrixTheatreCompany.