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SAGA

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Gabrielle Brechner
February 23, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Producer.

What is your show about?
Once successful with big dreams for the future, now Gunnar Oddmunson dreams only of justice since the Icelandic economy collapsed. When his family abandons him and the bank takes his house and car, Gunnar’s ancient Norse desire for blood revenge awakens. SAGA will be told with over 30 puppets ranging from 3 inches to 10 feet.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I grew up in a theatre - my father was the founder and Artistic Director of the American Jewish Theatre. He still jokes with me about how embarrassing it was to have an 8 year old ticket seller/taker/usher, but apparently I was so gung-ho that I couldn't be stopped! So I never really thought twice about it, I just always knew I would work in theatre.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
...actually shows the main character driving his car into a ditch.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
We have been working together for over a decade. I two partners, who are the writers/directors on this show. I have been friends with one of my partners, Gwen, since we were 15. After she graduated from Ecole Jacques Lecoq, she was moving to NYC and called me, and I happened to be looking for a roommate. She moved in, then Kirjan moved in, then rehearsals began in my living room.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Broooooooce. For sure. He's one of the best storytellers around, and his live shows are so perfectly executed - all the fat is trimmed and every moment is essential. Both of these things are things Wakka Wakka aspires to in our own work, and I like to think that we achieve, so in my opinion Bruce would love our work. Plus, its funny, and he's funny!

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Absolutely, as long as the work is good and it brings the audience on an emotional journey. If you have that, your audience is connected to the characters, which means they hurt if the characters hurt; they feel scorned if the characters are scorned, and so on. If your subject matter or messages/themes focus on areas in which there are need for societal change, an audience member can easily develop a cause based on the connection they felt with a character. For example, our current show is about one family's experience during the recent financial crisis. I think our audience will come away with clear feelings about how families have suffered as a result of this and perhaps be motivated to change their own actions as a result.