Garden of Delights
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Ildiko Nemeth
November 9, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Director of the show.
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
At age 17, I joined a theater group and it just seemed the right place to be. Besides meeting all these interesting people, I found it a place for soul-searching, and most importantly, a place that broadened my horizons. In my mid 20s I worked as a sociotherapist, but chose to return to the theater, realizing it was the one place where I felt the most free and safe expressing myself and exploring what it means to be in the world.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Theater has an immediacy that gives it, I think, its resonance. You can feel the personal investment of all the artists involved. And I think the fact that there are so many artists, and art forms involved, is a large part of its appeal for me. It is a complex form, I get so much out of translating ideas into visual elements, for example, or creating a movement sequence that is inspired by a poem.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Garden of Delights spoke to me for a number of reasons. The playwright, Fernando Arrabal, has infused it with a mixture of bizarre atmosphere, darkness, and humor that I most respond to. Also, though I respond personally to the main character--an actress called Lais who is confronting the ghosts of her past, trying to liberate herself in the present--I see the story as universal, and concerned with the universal problem of individuation that a lot of my work deals with. The play is her creation story, and it enters into her subjective world in a very all-encompassing way. I was drawn to the challenge of dramatizing a psychological space in a cinematographic way on stage.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Yes, I believe it can. Theatre is about the human experience: what man is, or what man becomes under given circumstances--political, social, psychological. So it has great power to make us look closely, honestly, at socially accepted values: why are these values what they are, and what would it take for that system to break down or maybe to change for the better. Every change starts with questioning. Even if at first it happens at an individual level, theater can move people collectively.