Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your play, Balls’ ON, will soon appear as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. What inspired you to tell this story, and how would you describe your creative process in bringing it to life?
Katt Balsan: It is the story of finding my destiny and how I came from France to Los Angeles to pursue my dream. What inspired me to tell this story is that when I was in the corporate world in France, life didn’t really make sense to me and I was unhappy, making bad decisions (men, alcohol, anger…). I am telling this story to remind the audience that life is meant to be enjoyed and that we should all follow our dreams and do what makes us happy.
I met my director, the late Gary Austin, Founder and Original Artistic Director of The Groundlings, as soon as I moved to Los Angeles in 2012. One day I went to see a solo performance that he directed, and I was so inspired by the artist that I talked to Gary about it, and he immediately offered to develop and direct my own solo show.
We started working on the show in 2015 and presented 3 Works In Progress at The Groundling’s Student Stage, as we were still writing and developing the show. Last year, on April Fool's Day of 2017, Gary Austin, who had been battling cancer for years, passed away. When I was at his bedside at the hospital, I promised Gary that I would finish the show and make him proud of our work. This whole year of 2018 has been dedicated to finishing the show and keeping Gary alive through our work.
BD: Given that the performance is a one-woman show, how do you balance the workload of the production, and do you feel that the various roles enhance your creative process?
KB: I’m very fortunate to have an amazing producer, E.R. Ruiz, who helps release the workload. He is the one who designs all of the flyers and promotion material. Although I have his help and support, at times I do feel like a one-woman army! Going from Fringe Office Hours to Fringe Parties, to seeing 50 other Fringe shows, emailing the press, sending invitations to my contacts… I’ve have to find ways to stand out, as a solo show. For example, for the Fringe’s Opening Party, I decided to put ON my Balls (!) and dress as a giant inflatable penis to make a statement for my show, and in that sense, yes, it has enhanced my creative process!
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
KB: First of all, I want my audience to have a good time and a good laugh. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people laugh. Then, because I tackle serious subjects, as well (in a light and funny way), I want my audience to relate and be open to talking about those events that life put us through. I want them to know that they are not alone, and that it’s okay to talk about it.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Balls’ ON?
KB: This whole year of 2018 has been dedicated to Balls’ ON; I presented the show at The Thymele Arts in January, and then I took it to Santa Monica Playhouse in February and March. It only made sense for me to register it to the Hollywood Fringe Festival and gain a wider audience.
Being the number 1 Theater Festival of Los Angeles, it brings a whole community of Theater lovers, Theatergoers, performers, artists, which is not always easy to find. It’s the perfect way to grow my network and my audience and also to discover so many other shows and meet people who do the same thing!
BD: The show will be appearing at The Broadwater Studio through June 22, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
KB: If it wins an ENCORE Award, then yes! My dream for this show would be to take it to NYC, where everybody breathes theater!
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
KB: Yes, recently I’ve been cast for supporting roles in two different movies: John Henry, starring Terry Crews, and Faithfully, produced by Liz Vacovec. Ironically, both of those movies are shooting in June, right in the middle of the Fringe! The month of June is a real acting marathon. I can say it has been one of the most productive months of my career so far!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Balls’ ON?
KB: Tickets and reservations can be made here and reviews of the show can be found here.
I’m also very active on social media. Please follow me on Instagram, Twitter (@KattBalsan), and Facebook for more pictures and day-to-day updates about the show!
*Photo Credit: Matt Kamimura