Sixteen-year-old Katherine Pollnow, from Kewaskum, will appear in First Stage’s world premiere play TO THE PROMISED LAND playing at the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts January 25 through February 10.
Set in late 1960s Milwaukee, the play seamlessly weaves together the story of Ruth, a young African-American girl reeling from the loss of her brother during recent Civil Rights actions, and that of Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister, who had spent her formative years in Milwaukee. As Ruth draws on Golda Meir’s autobiography for inspiration a story between Milwaukee’s African-American and Jewish communities is shared as we follow both characters on their path to her own promised land.
Katherine has been involved in theater since age 10. This is her third First Stage Main Stage production and her second year in the Young Company program. She has spent her summers participating in the Classical Company Class. Past roles include Wanda in THE HUNDRED DRESSES and Meg in A WRINKLE IN TIME. Through the Company Class and Young Company at First Stage, she played Worcester in KING HENRY IV PART ONE and Emilia in THE WINTERS’ TALE.
“There really is no definitive answer to why I enjoy acting,” Katherine said. “I love being able to take on a new character, to embrace that human being, fictional or not, and find out where I agree with them. If I can understand how that character works and feels, I feel that I can become them and try my hardest to do them justice.” Katherine’s favorite role to date is either her current role as Goldie in TO THE PROMISED LAND or Anne in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. “Both girls were real people who went through terrible times with a fierce heart and a hunger for truth,” she added.
Katherine loves working with First Stage. Her favorite thing is the fun atmosphere. “At the end of the show, you are no longer cast members, but family,” she explained. From her role as Goldie, Katherine has learned to trust in herself and follow her heart.
“The play is about the journey of a young person searching for truth while struggling with the tests that come with life in an urban setting,” said Director Sheri Williams Pannell. “TO THE PROMISED LAND serves as a catalyst to encourage dialogue about Milwaukee history and
witness how one moment in time can impact the life of an impressionable young person,” she continued.
Katherine has taken away many lessons from this role. “In TO THE PROMISED LAND, Goldie says, ‘You have to find your own way, but you don’t have to do it alone.’ I love this show, and theater overall, because as an actor you have the chance to touch someone’s life, maybe even to help them find their own way.”
TO THE PROMISED LAND runs through February 10. For more information, visit www.FirstStage.org.
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