about anna

Performance as first nature

My life in performance is and has always been at the forefront of finding new ways to use the word, media, theater and expression. For me, expression is everywhere, capturing it is just a matter of focus and the desire to find a state of artistic grace.

Stage and screen author, actor and director Anna Kohler laid the foundation for her work studying at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and getting her diploma in theater and aesthetic studies from the Université VIII Vincennes in Paris, France. Since joining the New York experimental theater scene in 1982, she has worked on stage with some of America’s most respected playwrights, actors and directors, and was a longtime collaborator and associate member of America’s foremost experimental theater company The Wooster Group. In 2003, when she reprised her role as Natalya in the Group’s revival of Brace Up!, her performance was praised in The New Yorker as the “emotional center” of the show. Her film work includes Raoul Ruiz’s The Golden Boat, Hal Hartley’s The Book of Life, Bruno de Almeida’s On the Run and Peter Sellars’ The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez, among others. As an author/director, she has conceived and directed plays that have been performed in Austria, Germany, Brazil, and the United States.

In recent years, her focus on teaching has become an integral part of her artistic life. Currently, she is a senior lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her distinctive style of teaching is based on the unique combination of her work in both traditional and modern theater in Europe and her work at the forefront of experimental theater in the U.S. Apart from teaching, she has adapted, translated and directed productions of Young Jean Lee’s plays The Appeal and Pullman, WI, Chekov’s Uncle Vanya and Schnitzler’s La Ronde, and conceived and continues to direct a play reading series called It’s Alive with the participation of faculty and students.

Recent performance credits include directing Concert Suite for Henry V by William Walton with the MIT Symphony Orchestra, performing in John Jesurun’s Chang in A Void Moon – The Incubator Episodes, touring with Richard Maxwell’s Ode to the Man who Kneels to Bonn and Brazil, and performing in Yesterday Happened: Remembering H.M., at Central Square Theater in Cambridge. Her translations of plays by Richard Foreman, Rene Pollesch, Richard Maxwell, Elfriede Jelinek and others have been performed all over the world. She presented at the International Symposium “Infinite Memory – Performance and Archive” in Kiel, Germany, and brought this symposium to MIT in 2014, incorporating a new collaborative piece with Joan Jonas. In the spring of 2014, she also reprised her role as Mrs. Fangitu in Chang in a Void Moon at Incubator Arts Space in NYC. She performed in a production of I am bleeding all over the place, written and directed by Brooke O’Harra, which was presented at La Mama Theater in June 2016. She recently finished a run in December 2016 at Abrons Art Center in NYC of her own show MYTHO?Lure of wildness, featuring her, Hapi Phace and others, and directed by Caleb Hammond.

Email: annak (at) mit (dot) edu