Let’s Get To Know Katie Mack, A Successful Writer and Performance Artist

“Oh, You’re An Actor? How Do I Know If You’re Ever Telling The Truth” 

Theatre-Maker, Katie Mack tackles every actor’s least favorite question and more.

“I was a compulsive liar when I was a kid. I used to say that I had a twin sister and a grandma with a parrot who lived in Manhattan. I even drew them into my family portrait in first grade”, said Mack.

Katie Mack, originally from the midwest and now a NYC based thirty-six year old theater-maker, realized a long time ago that she wasn’t destined to become a lawyer or doctor, unless it was to play one on TV.

“It never took much for me to entertain myself…but the real fun was getting people to get on board with the games I wanted to play. In other words, I’ve been doing immersive/interactive theater since before kindergarten”.

But just because hindsight lends itself to see Mack’s career path now, it wasn’t always so clear.

“I of course wanted to find something I was good at but becoming an actor wasn’t on my radar. Parties provided the sense of community and belonging I craved, plus I had a knack for getting alcohol and drugs from strangers”, said Mack.

This quickly led to a fierce suburban double life of good grades by day and stealing cars and partying by night.  By the time she was sixteen, she had accumulated so many hours of community service that she got a scholarship to college for political science. It was when she turned to harder drug use like oxys and heroin that things started to take a quick turn. And then, in her early 20s, she accidentally rediscovered acting.

“Actors have to look at each other. It’s really hard to look at someone in the eye when you’re on drugs”, said Mack, “I liked drugs because I felt like sometimes the truth about what people felt or what they wanted to tumbled out of them, but in art, the whole point is to find the truth and put it on display. Ultimately, I got lucky, and choose acting and art over using drugs.”

When Mack entered into recovery from substance abuse, she had to learn how to get honest with herself, something she didn’t know was going to be so difficult.

“We fundamentally think we know how to be honest, but it’s trickier than that. Learning to be honest about your own behavior, your own intentions, and owning your faults is a painful and constant journey”, cringes Mack, “However, owning the truth as you perceive it is directly related to understanding what you offer as an artist. Most of us can spot a liar in an instant.  Why would that be any different on stage? Acting can be defined as ‘living truthfully in imaginary circumstances’ so actors are actually constantly practicing telling the truth. Basically, when you feel someone is a good actor they are just good truth-tellers.”

Mack continued this trend of sharing her honest experience into her writing.  She began writing and producing short plays in 2017, which eventually led to narrative podcast f*cking sober: the first 90 days which won a 2021 Webby Award for Best Writing and Nomination for Best Limited Series. This lead her to be commissioned by PACA to write solo show #breakupcontent produced, and most recently was commissioned by off the WALL productions to write and perform #UglyCry: grief hits different now.

“The kernel of the show came after Eric Anthamatten, my friend and ex-ex-boyfriend, was murdered, one of my first thoughts was, what am I going to post about him?” said Mack, “If we are truly being honest, I’m terrified of this show”.

#UglyCry, described as “Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didian meets Bo Burnham’s “Inside”, is a ninety-minute interactive solo performance where the audience use their smartphones to try to bring the now deceased, Eric Anthamatten, back to life. A play in which we look at how we use social media and the internet as a way to guide the living through mourning.

#UglyCry is BYOP (bring your own phone), written & performed by Katie Mack, directed by Janus Young, and will play in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Stage Sept 22-Oct 4th, 2023, and Off-Broadway Oct 28th-Nov 18th, 2023 at the Chain Theater. Visit for more information, and to purchase tickets.