Don’t Tell Mother
nytheatre.com q&a preview by H. Clark Kee
January 3, 2013
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I think I realized that I wanted to work in the theater during the summer of my freshman year in college, when a group of us who had been working together formed a resident company at the Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey. What fascinated me most was that it was an art form in which human behavior was, in a sense, the medium.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Well, one important difference between theater and film or TV is the presence of a live audience. Of course you can perform TV in front of an audience, but a TV show can also be edited. That can't happen in the theater. Also - the medium and the audience are both people. My favorite spot to watch a show from, is somewhere where I can observe the actors and the audience at the same time.
How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I met the playwright and three of the six actors in the Accidental Repertory Theater's professional workshop. Accidental Rep (ART) was founded in 2006 by Artistic Director John Strasberg, as a practical extension of the Organic Creative Process, which is an important principle in his work and teaching. The workshop is similar in format to the Actors' Studio, which John's father led for many years. Playwright Peter Welch developed "Don't Tell Mother" in part in the weekly workshop. I had worked with actors Judy Krause and Lou Vuolo, in the workshop as well, and Wes Seals was in ART's production of the "Johnny Johnson Dream Show" last year. I had worked with Ruthanne Gereghty, who plays the mother, previously. Peter introduced me to Robert G McKay and Aristotle Stamat.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
I'm a longtime student of Brecht. I do believe that theater brings about societal change, but not rapidly. If theater makes people think - about themselves, about their predicaments, social circumstances, the institutional configurations that impinge on their lives, that's the beginning of what can become a commitment to change.