Sitting down with Powder and Wig President, Katherine Kibler ’16

With years of experience under her belt, a passion for theater, and a crop of new talent from this year’s freshman class, the president of student run theater group Powder and Wig Katherine Kibler ’16 is prepared for anything. This week, she sat down with The Colby Echo to discuss her role in the student theater club and their plans for the remainder of the year.

So, how long have you been involved in Powder and Wig?

All four years. We put up about eight productions a year, so six to seven main stage shows, a production of One-Acts, the Vagina Monologues, and then we co-sponsor a variety of other events throughout the year. So, my freshman year I was a part of every single thing that Powder and Wig did. I’ve just been really involved; theater has always been a big passion of mine.

And what’s your background here at Colby?

Well, Colby was the only college I applied to. I got in [Early Decision] and it has been the perfect place for me. I’m a creative writing and philosophy double major.

Do you do anything outside of Powder and Wig?

I’m the Deputy-in-Chief of Personnel and Training for Colby Emergency Response—which is the team of EMTs on campus—so we make sure campus stays safe. I’m also a [Colby Cares About Kids] mentor (I’ve mentored the same girl for four years) and I work for the creative writing department. I maintain their website and I do research for [Professor of English] Debra Spark, so I’m very busy!

So, what comprises your role as President of Powder and Wig?

My biggest function is to be the go-between for Powder and Wig and the campus at large. So, if we have problems with anything, like if we’re doing a show somewhere and something gets broken, I’m the one who goes and deals with it. Right now, we’re working on partnerships with Student Health on Campus (SHOC) and the Feminist Alliance to do the Vagina Monologues in the Spring, making that a Freshman Wellness Seminar (which we did last year), and working with the Mid-Maine homeless shelter. They’re actually building a puppet theatre, so the group through the Colby Volunteer Center (CVC) reached out to us to see if the people in Powder and Wig would be down to go hang out with some kids during the dark wintry months when they’re stuck inside all day. I also run the board meetings every week, talking about any issues that come up. All that said, I’ve got five other people that run Powder and Wig, so I’m definitely not doing it by myself, and I could not do it without them.

Were you as dedicated to theater in high school as you are now?

Yes. I’ve always been on the tech side though; I’ve never done acting. I don’t act here, I’m all tech. I’m thinking about auditioning for the One-Acts in the spring this year just to get that experience, but I love the tech side of it.

Can you explain how tech fits into the overall production of a given show?

So you have the actors and that’s what you see on stage, but without the tech team the actors would be acting in the dark, with no set, with no props, and you wouldn’t be able to hear them. It’s a symbiotic relationship, so tech would have nothing to do without actors and actors can’t be seen without tech. So I’ve done the lights: hanging units, programming lights, etc. I’ve also done costumes, so designing the costumes, making them. It’s really cool, and Powder and Wig has some fantastic talent on both sides and I’ve been really lucky to work with a lot of it.

How many kids participate in a given show?

So we have two shows that go up in the fall, Some Girl(s), which went up in the first week of November which I actually directed, and then we have a show this weekend that’s called And Then There Were None, which is an Agatha Christie novel that has been adapted into a play. So to give you some perspective, for those two shows—which we auditioned for at the same time—we had 40 people come out for auditions! Some people we knew and were old faces, and others were brand new. And the star of my show was actually a freshman, and this is only his second show.

How did Some Girl(s) go?

It was awesome, very well received. We got a spectacular review in the Echo and I couldn’t be prouder. They did amazing work.

What does the rest of the season look like for Powder and Wig?

So we’ve had our first two shows, then And Then There Were None this weekend, and then in the spring we have a production of The Nerd, which is a comedy, which looks absolutely hilarious, and then Next to Normal which is a famous musical about mental health, which is really interesting especially with all the discussions that are happening on campus right now. It’s going to be really good. And then there’s another play that’s happening called The Baltimore Waltz, which is a three person show that should be really cool. And then finally we have the Vagina Monologues, which will be happening in February, plus the One-Acts in April.

Are you connected to the Theater and Dance department at all?

They let us use their spaces and a member of the faculty is usually our faculty sponsor but that’s about as much as they’re involved with us. They don’t select our season, they don’t do auditions with us. We are really just student-driven.

Any differences in Powder and Wig this year from years past?

Well, this year we really have more first years interested in joining Powder and Wig and really being a part of the shows than has been the case in past years, at least that I’ve seen, and I think a lot of people would say that. Which is really awesome that we’re just getting this upwelling of talent and drive, and it’s really fantastic. And the board this year is working on being more transparent with what we do, and what comes with that is the realization that we don’t do a lot. The power of the club comes from the directors who are directing these shows.

And who directs?

Anybody can submit to direct, provided that they have either taken Directing—which is a class you can take through the department—or directed a One-Act during the One-Acts Festival, and that’s just so that you get a taste of knowing how to direct.

And why do you think there are more freshmen participating this year?

I think the sense that I’ve gotten from a lot of other club leaders is just that this freshman class is really excited to be involved, which I think is really great. So please, come, be involved, we want you guys!

Anything else you want to say that I didn’t ask?

Can I put in a big huge plug to come see And Then There Were None this weekend? So, tickets are on sale in the Spa and they will also be sold at the door; they are $2. The shows are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Special Collections, which is a really cool partnership we were able to strike with the library this year. We’re actually doing a production in the Robinson Room, which is really cool considering the story of And Then There Were None. It’s a perfect setting.

Can you give us a taste of what we can expect?

Ten strangers are transported to a fairly desolate island out in the middle of nowhere and they start dying one by one, so it’s a big whodunit mystery.