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Cymbeline

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Hamilton Clancy
July 2, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Producer/director.

What is your show about?
A space fairy tale about Imogen,her true love and the web of wickedness,wagers, and old secrets that threatens to destroy their world.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I most enjoy working on new works with poetic language that pose prescient, penetrating questions and challenge actors on a deep levels emotionally. When it comes to Shakespeare -obviously poetry and deep questions are always present - I most enjoy the challenge of stripping the play down to some of those essential questions and sharing it in an inventive fashion.

Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
I believe the playwright - or playwrights - are the central artists in the theatre. Their words are the impetus for all the other creative contributions, so the playwright comes first in theatre. That said,on any given night in the experience of theatre, I think the actor does 75-80% of the work and the director the other 20-25%. You need a great playwright and a great play to inspire both though. Doing Shakespeare then is a no-brainer - he's clearly one of the greatest dramatists of all time and his plays excite actors to deliver deep performances and call upon all that they can offer. There's no doubt,for me then, that producing and directing Shakespeare is the theatrical equivalent to scaling an Everest or a Mt. McKinley.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Firstly, I chose to produce and direct CYMBELINE because I thought it, like the other romances, really speaks to peace between divided factions. I felt encoded in the end of the play was Shakespeare 's profoundly moving recipe for reconciliation of deep divisions. Secondly, I fell in love with the idea of a space fairy tale and CYMBELINE seemed like the perfect Shakespeare play for such a match. Most importantly, the play seemed a wonderful match for some of the actors in our company.

Which character from a Shakespeare play would like your show the best: King Lear, Puck, Rosalind, or Lady Macbeth -- and why?
I think Rosalind because she would see herself in Imogen the central character of the play -the determination, the grit, the willingness to risk for love. She's arguably the greatest heroine in all of the canon - so I imagine Rosalind would be rooting all the way for Imogen to overcome a broken heart. She would appreciate what Imogen has to teach about how to love with courage and devotion.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would split it between 20-30 theatre companies with budgets under $100,000 and over ten years of producing experience in New York City, thereby insuring support for great theatre from established, hard working innovators in the greatest theatre city in the world. Current arts funding is counter intuitive in my view: they don't offer enough funding to smaller producing organizations to really rise unless they dedicate themselves to arts education, instead of production. Too manny initiatives start with the qualification: for organizations with budgets of $250,000 or more." In order to invigorate a vibrant arts community you need to plant substantial seeds that can actually yield fruit competitive with the established institutions in the community. If you recognize those companies who have consistently put forward interesting work with less to do it with, your rewarding thriftiness and watering the heart of independent theatre in America.