Kym Moore knows the moment it all began — her love of the theater. At age nine, she went to Auntie Mame on Broadway. “I was enthralled by the complete transformation of reality that occurred on stage. I saw it and thought, ‘I'm going to do that!’” For more than 30 years, she has relentlessly explored theater art as a “site of transformation and magic” — as director, playwright, producer, screenwriter, teacher, and scholar.
At first, Moore thought she wanted to be an actor, but she remembers literally sneaking out of her first college theater audition after realizing that acting might not be the right path. Determined to pursue theater in one way or another, she got involved on the tech side of productions — lights, sound, scenery, costume design, stage managing, and eventually directing.
To date, Moore has directed more than 50 plays, in off-Broadway, regional, and college theaters, ranging from Pippin to Romeo and Juliet to Funnyhouse of A Negro. At its core, Moore says her work is primarily concerned with “transformation.”
“I see the theater as a ritual space that is capable of communicating complex and subtle expressions of human experience in a particular way. The materials of theater that include lights, sound, text, design, and particularly vigorous physical performance have always held a fascination for me,” she said.
Moore has been the Gerard Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre, Speech, and Dance at Brown since 2008. Born and raised in New York City, she attended State University of New York–New Paltz as an undergraduate and received an M.F.A. in directing from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. She previously taught and directed at Swarthmore College, Sarah Lawrence College, The Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film/SUNY–Purchase, Dartmouth College, Hampshire College, Notre Dame University, and Indiana State University. Her one-act play, The Date, won the Pen and Brush Award for Best Short Play in 2003.
Moore says she’s always been interested in technology and performance. While at Hampshire, she was awarded a Lemelson Foundation grant to develop “The "Brainmachine,” an interactive biofeedback device that allowed performers to control lights, sound, and video using brainwave signals in real time. Using the machine, Moore wrote a play, Divide & Conquer, around the issues of race and class.
“These issues are huge for me. There is a prescribed, theoretical approach to talking about race, and then there’s reality. I’m interested in ‘reality,’” she said. “I’m interested in how people can actually see these constructs operate in the world by revealing them in the work. In theater it becomes visible. I strive to make these constructs apparent only to obliterate them in the process, making space for another possibility.”
At Brown, Moore teaches acting, stage movement, “Director/Designer Collaborative Studio,” and a course she developed last year, “Acting Outside the Box: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Performance.”
“I’m very proud of that course because it brings together everything I really believe about performance and what it can be. In that class, every actor has to take on roles that they’d never be cast in. We cross very challenging boundaries, but remarkably come out the other side with whole new perspectives. It was quite astonishing and totally inspires me to keep on teaching it.”
In addition to directing Gross Indecency, The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde at Brown this fall, Moore is involved with several professional projects, including directing Jomama Jones: Radiate at Soho Rep, Erik Ehn’s Yermedea at LaMaMa in 2012 and devising a new performance piece, Time’s Up.