The God Box
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Antonia Lassar
January 21, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
A mother finds out her daughter is not a Jew; she plotzes.
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I love to laugh, and I love it when other people laugh, and I love social change. My favorite kind of theatre to make is that which tackles big social injustices through humor. I like to schmooze the audience with a few jokes, and then KABAM! INJUSTICE! We all agree that there is a lot to work on in this world- but it bums everyone out. I think one of the biggest reasons people don't deal with social and political change is that it's a huge downer. Theatre like this can show that anything can have levity.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
In theatre I always have the opportunity to make out with an audience member. I have not yet, but if there is a very enthusiastic theatre-goer, they should let me know.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
This show started with a character: Gloria Adelman. Since I was a junior in high school, competing on the speech and debate team, I have been playing this older Jewish woman. And even when I was 16, it was a perfect fit. In speech competitions I was winning a lot, and I thought something like, "well, she's convenient to have around." The next year I decided at the last minute to play her again, and ended up winning the biggest national competition. In university I played her in a comedy show, and a producer approached me and encourage me to write a one woman show starring Gloria Adelman. It just became really clear that Gloria was my version of Sasha Fierce. So, I wrote The God Box as a place for Gloria to talk about herself more, and it ended up becoming a piece all about her struggles with religious tolerance and family. I didn't imagine that was going to be the result, but it ended up being the right fit. I'm sure I'll be playing Gloria for many more years to come, and the moment I hit sixty, I'm putting on a Brooklyn accent like hers and buying something polyester.
Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Spielberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman?
Oh Mer-Mer, I've gotten your fan letters, and let me just say, I am LOVING the Mamma Mia stationary.
Who are your heroes?
Richard Feynman had a way of looking at life that pushed me to become an actor. He thought that if something could be solved the usual way, it would be solved already. The world needs a lot of fixing, and theatre is the tool I want to use.