If You Start a Fire [Be Prepare to Burn]
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Anthony Johnson
August 20, 2012
What is your job on this show?
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Two words describe the type of theatre that really grabs my attention: Dark. Comedy. I believe laughter is essential to any theatrical endeavor, but I always love scripts that take you somewhere unexpected. I think If You Start A Fire... is the perfect example of this.
Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
This is a chicken or the egg sort of question, and one that is virtually impossible to answer without stepping on some toes. But I do have an answer - it's just none of the above choices. I think the most important "person" in the theatre is the audience. The playwright writes for the audience. The director directs for the audience. And the actors act for the audience. We do what we do because we want to share our work with other people. Without an audience, we do not have theatre. Without an audience, playwrights have no one to write for, directors have no reason to direct, and actors have no reason to act.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
I love to read plays, but it's very rare that I read an entire script submission in one sitting. Oftentimes, as I'm reviewing scripts for production, I read in sections, skipping ahead to discover the essence of the piece and whether or not it is something we can produce. I have a formula and a rubric to determine if something fits our mission and artistic vision, and it's usually a very tedious process. That was not the case with Kevin's script, however. I opened his email on my iPhone one night when I couldn't sleep and was so hooked after the first scene that I read the entire play and immediately emailed him back at 2 AM to tell him how much I loved the script. Kevin has written something so fresh and unexpected, something so funny and yet so powerful, that I knew immediately we had to produce it!
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
That's tough. But SEXY all the way!
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Honestly, I'd take ten million dollars and transfer If You Start A Fire... to Broadway. I think the script is perfect for Broadway audiences, and it'd be the perfect investment of that money. And I'd use the leftover funds to secure Mondays Dark Theatre Company with its very own theatre!