Cry of the Mountain
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Adelind Mae Horan
September 24, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born in New Jersey to actor parents. They had been acting in New York and founded the Playwrights Theater of New Jersey with a few friends. When I was about three, we moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, which I consider home. My parents, being the alternative/ artist types, encouraged me to seek out non-conventional education growing up. I was homeschooled (more like un-schooled) as a child, and mainly did theatre, took dance classes, and wrote stories. As a teenager, I went to a Friends school in Charlottesville with an incredibly imaginative and creative community of peers and teachers. My college years were spent at Drew University, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (studying Shakespeare), and I ended my four years at Hampshire College where I developed Cry of the Mountain.
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one in United Solo that...?
Is a verbatim-style piece with an environmental and political message (to my knowledge).
What was the most memorable/funny/unusual thing that has happened during the development and rehearsal process for this show?
Two of the people I portray in Cry of the Mountain have recently passed. They were both extremely influential figures in the anti-mountaintop removal movement. It's been a beautiful experience being able to bring life to their voices and movements again. As an actor who usually plays fictitious characters, this verbatim-style work has brought my appreciation for the art of acting to a whole new level. I'm honored to have the opportunity to keep their words alive via theatre.
For Election season: which American political figure do you think would like your show best, and why: Barack Obama, Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, or Hilary Clinton?
I'd like to think they'd ALL enjoy the show (although something tells me Paul Ryan isn't really a theatre guy). Most importantly, I'd hope that at least one of them would be moved enough to actually take a serious stand against mountaintop removal and stop using the term "clean coal" for goodness sakes. There's no such thing as "clean coal."
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Absolutely. Theatre takes a mirror and holds it up to humanity. There's something electrifying about being in a space full of people and witnessing a live portrayal of all that is lovely/strange/funny/troubling about the world. A great political speech might not motivate certain people to take a stand for or against an issue the way an emotionally charged piece of theatre can. Great theatre/ great art leaves the viewers ruminating over the piece for hours after they're experienced it because they relate to something human in it; something inside them has been stirred up. Historically, theatre has definitely played a part in promoting social change. These days, I think theatre has the potential to make huge impacts but it needs to be more accessible to everyone. What if playwriting was a part of the core curriculum in public schools and theatre tickets were more affordable?