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A Question of Taste

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jeannine Foster-McKelvia
June 25, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What is your show about?
A Question of Taste is a modern fable about politics at cross purposes, when two African men of different generations and philosophies, although fighting for the same cause of removing a corrupt, paranoid dictator, meet while in police detention as political prisoners. They engage in an ideological struggle that swings between anger and resignation, idealism and and disilluison.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA where there is plenty of theatre. That is where I got started in theatre. I received my MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY where the faculty really encourages you to be creative and pushes you beyond what you think are your own limits.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I do theatre because I love it! You have to love it because there is not always a lot of money in it. I love the live audience hearing them react to the story, listening to them in the lobby talk about what they saw. I like theatre because you have more control of the artistic product.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I met the playwright of A Question of Taste, Andrew Ade, when I worked on the premier production in Pittsburgh. The show was part of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre’s Black & White Festival. We collaborated on that production and found we worked well together. Consequently, Andrew wrote another one act, Last But Not Least, that is the second part or continuation of this story of contemporary Africa. This is the New York Premier of A Question of Taste. What we would like to do, although it has not happened yet, is to have both one acts, A Question of Taste and Last But Not Least as an evening of theatre. The lead actor in this production, Allie Woods, Jr., saw the Pittsburgh production and when I told him it was entered in the Midtown International Festival he immediately said he would play the Prisoner.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
The “S” word that describes this show is “Surprising”. Without giving away anything I will just say when you get to the end you will think OMG!

Why are theater festivals so very important?
I think theatre festivals are very important. They give all the artist, actors, writers, directors, everyone, a chance to try out new work without the heavy pressure of this must work artistically and make the box office very happy. You want your production to be successful. But, at the same time everyone knows that work produced at a festival is getting a tryout as it were. This is where the artist see what works, where the laughs are, or lack of laughter, see where and if the emotional moments work. Then they can go back and do rewrites and restaging.