The Best Laid Plans / Vivien on the Rocks
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Adriana Jones
September 14, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Playwright and Actor.
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan, a small suburb between Detroit and Ann Arbor. For college, I moved across the country to Seattle, Washington to earn my BFA in Theater from Cornish College of the Arts. I am now living and working here in New York.
What was the last show you saw that really excited you, and why?
Probably "Clybourne Park" at Seattle Repertory Theater. I've admired all the Bruce Norris plays I've read and seen, but this one in particular deals with some really uncomfortable issues surrounding racial politics in a way that is accessible and funny, while not being afraid to completely indict the audience. Also, the cast I saw in Seattle was wonderful, they had great timing; now that I'm in New York, I'm going to try and see the Broadway cast, to see what different things they bring to the piece.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Early last spring, I read Antonia Fraser's book "Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter". Though the book centers primarily on Harold and Antonia as one might expect, Vivien Merchant, Harold's first wife, emerged for me as this really intriguing secondary character. I started to seek out information about her, only to find that she had become so linked to Harold that her own career and accomplishments had become largely overshadowed by him. I wanted to give her a chance to tell her side of the story, or what I imagined that might look like, and "Vivien On The Rocks" was born.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Many of the "s" words could apply here, but I'm going to go with surprising. Our show takes you a lot of places that you might not expect.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
I think so. It's not generally a bringer of fast changes, it's not as though if there's some bill you don't like in Washington and you put on a play opposing it, the bill will get repealed the next day. What the theater does do is offer a forum for the presentation of perspectives and ideas that people might not have considered before. If people start to consider these new perspectives and ideas even a little, they might act a bit differently than they did before entering the theater, and that's how change starts.