October 8 marked the first performance of a one-woman play by accomplished performer Katjana Gerz at Lyric-Hyperion Theatre & Cafe in Silver Lake.
In the less than hour-long play, directed by Carsen Labella, Gerz portrays a young, not quite 30-year-old woman from Germany who is single and lives alone in a messy apartment in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile district. Although a young adult, she is still dealing with issues from a painful childhood and adolescence. Introspective, self-depreciating , and analytical , Gerz' character, Katjana , tries to sort out issues to the theater audience as to why she is the way she is, analyzing what went wrong in past relationships, conflicting views of her life from her parents, and struggles to think independently.
Katjana speaks from the heart, holds nothing back, and the audience can relate because many people have been there at some point in life.
"We started working on this play last May," said producer Labella. "All the stories the play's character tells are based on real-life experiences, and Katja funded the whole project on her own."
Gerz elaborated further about the idea for "Ugly Apple," which came several years ago when she was doing stand-up comedy about the funny cultural differences between Germans and Americans. "After a while, the stories accumulated, and I thought 'Why not? I could write a whole show about it.' "
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Gerz eventually studied and got her MFA at Konrad Wolf University of Film and Television in Berlin. She then moved to New York City, and about a year ago, packed her bags and came to Los Angeles. Among her many theater and film credits, she has appeared on NBC's "Law and Order."
Last year, she says, was very adventurous for her: "I made it my hobby to write every day. I intertwined that with my stand-up, and came up with the story for 'Ugly Apple.' I have enjoyed everything about producing this show. Working with Carsen Labella was a blessing. The rehearsal process was very creative and fun."
Gerz also outlined the challenges of doing a one-woman show: "The most challenging thing is actually DOING a one-woman show--keeping at it and not getting discouraged. It is a long process and it is easy to lose hope and motivation because you have to do most of it by yourself. But once you overcome that threshold, ,the reward is indescribable." Gerz currently lives in Venice, "where I spend most of my time listening to music and driving on my scooter." She said she looks forward to doing a lot more performances and festivals.
She will perform "Ugly Apple" again at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre & Cafe Thursday, October 15th at 9:00 p.m.
– This story was written by Clint Lohr, an agent with Keller Williams Los Feliz.