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Frankenstein

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Aaron Novak
July 5, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor.

What is your show about?
It is about searching for connection and meaning in a cruel world and the struggles we face that define to us what it truly means to be alive.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I don't think it was ever one single moment, but a combination of memories. I started young, playing in school and with my friends. Then, I began searching for larger challenges. All of a sudden, this thing you do has become a part of you and defines you in a way. But you can't forget to play! It's important to maintain a sense of "Childlike Wonder" as my old professor would remind me. You have to have fun!

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
In New York, I've done productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, The Mustard Seed, Nocturnes, Dr. Moreau. In Pennsylvania, I've worked with the phenomenal Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble on shows such as Getting Married and Two Rooms. I've also worked on The Laramie Project, Shakespeare's R & J and The Nature Line with my old company The Omicron Theatre Project. I think the bottom line to every play is that you want to tell a story well. Tragedy, Comedy, History...it doesn't matter as long as you bring the audience along with you and make them want to know where the story is going next.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I first worked with Piper Theatre Productions in the Summer of '09 on Hamlet. I really can't say enough good things about the company. They have a fantastic kids summer Theatre program. They provide quality free outdoor Theatre to the community of Park Slope. This year is particularly exciting because we are incorporating a series of 6 short films shot by Jeremy Mather that help to further tell the story of the Creature in Frankenstein. Audiences can watch the films online and further delve into the adventure. Furthermore, Piper is also producing "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" as directed by the brilliant Mollie Lief Abramson. John McEneny is leading a production of "The Island of Doctor Moreau" to be presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. So many exciting things happening, it's a wonderful whirlwind!

Which character from a Shakespeare play would like your show the best: King Lear, Puck, Rosalind, or Lady Macbeth -- and why?
I think Iago from Othello would certainly appreciate the story we are telling. Like Iago, Victor Frankenstein has an urgent need to shift the world he lives in towards what he considers fair. Iago feels mistreated by Othello; Victor feels that the very concept of death is a great injustice. Like Iago, Victor's passion creates a monster who is overwhelmed with jealousy, rage and confusion. The monsters these men create are terrifying in their destructive capability. Iago is more aware of his emotions however. He would probably enjoy watching Victor struggle.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Of course! I've seen it happening. The ability to connect with a group of people and share a common empathy is immensely powerful. And it's present in a tremendously pure form in Theatre. Within my own career, I've seen the impact that talking about societal issues such as racism or homophobia can have on a community. And, even though our world seems to get larger and larger, it's still the local community that is most influential. Friends talking to friends. Families sharing conversations during a post-play meal. And sometimes Theatre can give those audiences the ability to feel seen and understood. Someone can look at a character onstage just yards away from them and say to themselves, "I know what they are going through. I've felt that way too." And that compassion is the root of societal change. And that connection, that silent communication is the root of Theatre. Pretty remarkable stuff!