JustArts: Tell me about your past experience directing.

Kat Lawrence: I was very fortunate. My high school had a very good theater program. I actually took a directing class in high school.

JA: How was directing at Brandeis different from directing in high school?

KL: It was all student-run. I got to work with people who I know and are really wonderful. So that kind of made the process go smoothly in some ways, and a little bit hard in some other ways.

JA: What is your relationship with the works of Shakespeare?

KL: I love Shakespeare. I’ve been in love with it for a long time.  I remember my sister … would read plays [to me] and I would do another part with her.  Ever since, I’ve just been really in love with it. I think it’s often misunderstood. People tend to think of Shakespeare as … not relevant to today [and] so hard to understand. In my mind, it’s still just as relevant and funny and modern as ever. You just need to have someone who knows what the text is saying.

JA: What drew you to “The Tempest” specifically?

KL: What I love about “The Tempest” is all the magic in it. There’s wizards, there’s fairies, there’s all these things going on and I loved the challenge of that and also the creativity that comes from it. I’ve had this dream of the opening sequence of the show for a long time. It is so fantastical, there’s so much you could do with it.

JA: What was the most challenging aspect of the whole process for you?

KL: Being in a leadership position when I don’t feel like I have superiority… or anything like that. It’s very hard to be in [charge] of your friends and people you want to hang out with.

JA: What is your message to aspiring student directors?

KL: It may seem terrifying, but I would recommend it to anyone. Definitely do it, especially if you’re an actor and you love theater. I’m an actress as well. It’s really helped me look at how it works from the other side and it’s so helpful in so many ways. It’s really a unique and wonderful experience.

—Maya Zanger-Nadis