3:15 p.m.

One Day Apprentice: Catherine Justice ’98

You can learn a lot about Carls by watching them work.

Photos by Michael Dvorak

Catherine Justice’s best-laid plans for 2020 were upended by a global pandemic. Yet rather than curl up on her couch with a chocolate cake and a Netflix account, Justice ’98 sought creative solutions to barriers the pandemic introduced. In addition to her work as an integrative physical therapist at Hennepin Healthcare, Justice is mom to three kids, a yoga instructor, and co–artistic director of the Rough Magic Performance Company, a Twin Cities–based theater company dedicated to telling women’s stories and supporting women artists.

In the past, Rough Magic has staged all-female adaptations of Shakespeare for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. They planned to skip the Fringe Festival in 2020 in favor of a main stage production in the fall. That didn’t happen, of course, but the company still wanted to create something. Justice had been listening to podcasts from the Public Theater in New York, which produces Shakespeare in the Park. “That got me thinking about the adaptations we’ve done and that we could do a podcast version,” she says. “We chose a feminist take on Macbeth— looking at witches, evil, power, corruption, and tyranny—because we wanted to release it near Halloween and the election, and it felt very relevant.”

The actors, director, and sound designer began meeting over Zoom to rehearse and to determine how to record the podcast. Working with downloaded software, the cast members created their own makeshift recording studios. Most people opted for converted closets, but one intrepid actor built a blanket fort to mute the sound around her. “We recorded our own tracks separately, but we stayed on Zoom so we could interact with one another,” says Justice. “Several times we had to stop recording because a cat or a kid would be trying to get into the closet, but we figured out how to work around the interruptions. We sent our tracks to the sound designer and she mixed it all together.”

The Macbeth Project podcast received favorable reviews from audience members and write-ups in the Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly magazine. It’s available on Apple, Spotify, and Sound Cloud, and via a link on the company’s website (www.roughmagicperformance.org). The company is working on their next podcast, though this time they’re leaning toward producing a play that is still female-focused, but more contemporary and light.

“We want to do something hopeful and joyful because that’s what we need to get through this pandemic winter,” says Justice. “The country is moving in a better direction now, and we want to reflect that by producing something playful and fun as a little bit of escapism.”

  • 6:00 a.mBefore dawn, Justice bikes from her Minneapolis home to her job as an integrative physical therapist at Hennepin Healthcare. “I’m up and out of the house before my family is out of bed,” she says.Michael Dvorak

  • 12:30 p.m.After spending the morning working with patients, Justice puts in her earbuds and heads home. On direction from Rough Magic’s sound designer, she listens to rough cuts of the company’s podcasts: “She wants us to listen in different environments to hear what sounds do or don’t come through.”Michael Dvorak

  • 1:00 p.m.Justice arrives home and talks with The Macbeth Project’s sound designer and director regarding the podcasts.Michael Dvorak

  • 1:30 p.m.Justice joins a Zoom call with Ruth Weiner, Carleton theater professor emerita, and Tricia Brown ’98, both board members for Rough Magic Performance Company. “We talk about the podcast and how to get out the word about the performance,” says Justice. “They offer advice on marketing.”Michael Dvorak

  • 1:45 p.m.In her closet turned makeshift recording studio, Justice listens to podcast drafts. When she’s recording her lines, she closes the door and Lotus the kitty is banned from the space.Michael Dvorak

  • 2:30 p.m.Justice and her husband take turns helping their kids with online school. “It’s really hard. I will not sugarcoat that one,” she says.Michael Dvorak

  • 3:00 p.m.A longtime yoga instructor, Justice conducts a private lesson with a client via Zoom. She also teaches a weekly yoga class online for TaraNa Yoga. “It’s not as good as being together, but we learned quickly how to do this. Don’t try to chant with everyone’s mic on. It’s ridiculous,” she says. “Theater and yoga are better experienced in person, but we’re making the best of it and we’re doing something for the good of everyone, and that’s what we all have to do right now.”Michael Dvorak

  • 3:15 p.m.Rough Magic’s co–artistic director Alayne Hopkins meets Justice at a playground to talk shop while their kids can run around. “Even before the pandemic, we would hold meetings at playgrounds,” says Justice. “Our company’s mission is to support women artists and a lot of us are mothers, so we always budget for a babysitter for rehearsals and performances. Supporting artist moms is in the forefront of our minds.”Michael Dvorak

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