Cast of "Symphony of Shadows", Photo Credit: Michael BlaseRachel Klein is a director, choreographer, producer, and costume/production designer. Rachel established the RKP ensemble in 2007, with her adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s "The Canterville Ghost" and has since worked with RKP and other collaborators (including Junta Juleil Theatricals, the Jackie Factory, Disgraced Productions, HQ Rep, the House of Yes, Bluebox Productions & Razors Edge Productions) to build and develop the full length productions "The Tragedy of Maria Macabre," "Metro," "All Kinds of Shifty Villains," "Sir Sheever," "Aenigma," "Go-Go Killers!," "Hound," "Princes of Darkness," "Circus of Circus," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" and "Lizardman, a Musical." Shorter works & dance pieces include "Our Prison," "La Enferma," "Medusa," "Sisters of the Moon, Sweeter Than Wine, Killer Workout, Beat Girl, Rocky Horror at Oh! You Pretty Things, London Calling," "March of the Black Queen," "ACT Up! Ballet: Why?" and "Night of the Living Dolls."

"Symphony of Shadows" Aerial Witch, Photo Credit: Michael Blase"Symphony of Shadows" Boys, Photo Credit: Michael BlaseThe Rachel Klein Theater Ensemble’s choreographic work has been presented throughout the city at several venues, festivals, art galleries & nightlife events including the Kitchen, Dixon Place, Theater for the New City, DUMBO Dance Festival, Night of 1000 Stevies, the Highline Ballroom, La MaMa, Banzai! at the Red Lotus Room, legendary rock 'n roll club Don Hill's, the Hiro Ballroom, the Bushwick Site Fest, Bushwick Open Studios Festival, the World Famous Bob’s Give Thanks!, Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, the House of Yes, HOWL Festival and Off-Broadway at the Bleecker Street Theater.

Rachel was a 2010 recipient of the Emerging Artists’ Residency Grant from the Field in Association with the Tides Foundation, currently curates a monthly performance art review at Bowery Poetry Club, and was nominated for Outstanding Director of a Play and Outstanding Choreography/Movement for the 2011 New York Innovative Theater Awards.

Rachel's latest masterpiece, "Symphony of Shadows: A Tale From the Land Beyond the Veil," is a movement-based spectacular that tells the story of a woman combating a variety of sleep disorders, phantasmagorical night terrors, hypnotic horrors, and other visually stunning conjurings from the subconscious depths of her own disturbed mind. "Symphony of Shadows" merges striking elements of circus and aerial arts, dance and movement, burlesque and operatic productions to vividly illustrate its storyline in a genre-defying form. "Symphony of Shadows" is being presented at Dixon Place in NYC (161A Chrystie Street) from June 7-23. Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a director, choreographer, and costume designer? MTV in the 80’s and 90’s. I often view the world through the lens of a narrative music video, which is part of why I approach theatrical work from a visual standpoint.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Justin Bond and Lady Rizo. Such talented creatures.

3. What made you want to create "Symphony of Shadows: A Tale From the Land Beyond the Veil" as a movement-based spectular? Why did you combine the different movement genres as opposed to concentrating on one genre? I love to fuse creative mediums when telling a story. It gives me the opportunity to make everything larger than life in as many ways as possible, and to find more compelling ways of depicting emotion.

4. How did you decide which companies you wanted to work with to create this multi-movement piece? Dixon Place first approached me about presenting a project, and when I decided on using aerial, I went straight to my friends and frequent collaborators at the House of Yes and the Sky Box. One of my company members, Danielle Marie Fusco (also my dance captain and lead soloist) dances at Graham and brought with her to this show several extraordinarily accomplished dancers.

5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Symphony of Shadows: A Tale From the Land Beyond"? In addition to giving them something dark to reflect upon with the nightmare based story, I’d like for them to feel astonished by the diverse talents of the performers and quality of entertainment.

6. What excites you about having this premiere at Dixon Place? What does this space offer the show that another space wouldn't? Dixon Place is a beautiful space with a supportive staff that really want the work they present to be successful. It’s fantastic to have such assistance on a project.

7. You are the founder of Rachel Klein Theater Ensemble. What made you want to start your own company? What do you get from having your own company? When I first moved to NYC in 2005 I struggled with for-hire gigs, working on pieces that did not speak to me emotionally. I never meant to actually start a theater company. It just sort of happened when my original collaborators, Elizabeth Stewart, Michael Porsche, Abigail Hawk, and I began to develop work ourselves, and from that point forward we haven’t looked back.

8. You were recently nominated for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Choreography/Movement for the 2011 New York Innovative Theater Awards. What did it mean to you to receive this nomination? It was exciting to be recognized for awards, especially in more than one category. I aspire to continue generating work that touches audiences in a positive way.

9. What's the best advice you've ever received? A colleague who I hold in very high regard once told me after seeing a production that "New York needs you. Do not change your style of work for anyone." It completely blew me away, and I’ve continued on my artistic path with those words in mind.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Aladdin Sane era Bowie.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Sleeping!

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Do you consider drinking Bloody Marys a workout?

13. Favorite skin care product? Gentics...I hope.

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Telekinetic fire-starting…like Carrie.

Nathaniel Shaw

Cast of Fifty Words: Bob Jesser and Jennifer Silverman