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Electra

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Amy Wagner
February 4, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director/Co-Artistic Director of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble.

What is your show about?
ELECTRA is a passionate play that tells the story of a daughter’s fight for justice following the murder of her father - about a family torn apart by tragedy, and about grief, anger, and hope for a better tomorrow.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I'm not sure I remember ever knowing that I wanted to work in theater. It's more an identity than a career - I have to do it! I was fortunate enough to have parents that cared about making the arts a part of my life, and at a very young age, I was exposed to wonderful theater, especially at Center Stage in Baltimore. I will never forget those experiences. I can't say I knew for sure when I moved to NYC that I wanted a life in theater, but I knew that theater would always be a part of my life. Take a love of theater, add some luck, hard work, and a lot of chutzpah, and your passion can become more than a hobby.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
For the money, of course ;)

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
I really look forward to the moments in ELECTRA where we find humor and lightness. This is a Greek tragedy, but it is also a family story, a personal story - I think we would be in real trouble if we relinquish the play to relentless grimness.

Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
Groucho. Seriously, who's picking Zeppo?

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Absolutely it can, because theater is a communal art. We have to gather together to regard it, and we do so in the presence of those making it. Theater is a conversation. Sometimes, it can become a sensation or even produce a watershed moment, but more often, and more importantly, the societal change it creates is gradual and incremental – I’m more comfortable with that actually. Theater can be a very powerful medium, and societal changes don’t always improve attitudes and understanding – at least in the direction I would choose. I just want to make the best art I can, telling and retelling stories that make us think and feel and join the conversation.