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100 Saints You Should Know

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Joan Kane
April 23, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What is your show about?
Theresa is finding her need to pray as Father Matthew is losing his, a play about believing, loving and hope.

What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
People occasionally ask me what I do when I am not working on a play. The answer is pretty simple. I sleep. My company, Ego Actus, is presenting six plays this year I am directing all of them. I also direct readings and short pieces on the side. That side is getting to be very thin. I do enjoy travelling with my husband, but we have been found lying in the sun on the beach in Tel Aviv discussing the transitions from scene to scene of a play we are planning, or riding on a bus in Istanbul working out rehearsal scheduling issues.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
People always ask theater people what their motivations are. Does anybody ever ask a dancer why they dance or a sculptor why they carve? People have asked me if I have a feminist agenda because I often direct plays written by women. I direct those plays because I like those plays. I choose what I work on based on what I think best presents my artistic expressions. I have been asked, “What do you mean?” I just put what I do out there, on stage, and let the audience decide what they think I mean.

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
100 Saints You Should Know is about transformations. Everyone wonders if they can be a better person or somehow make their lives work better. In this play the characters take decisive action to learn about life and try to improve them selves. My favorite moments are when the individual characters actually find that little break though that widens their perspective and helps them fit in to their own skins.

Which mythical character would like your show the best: Cyclops, Cupid, Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny?
If I was going to compare parts of this play to a mythical character, I would have to choose the Cyclops, the one eyed giant, who lumbers through life, seeing things very simply. At the beginning of the play, all of the characters are lumbering through their lives, seeing things as simple black and white choices. Fortunately that metaphor comes to a screeching halt when, unlike the Cyclops, they learn and grow and become more graceful, sensitive, people. At least that is what we are going for in the rehearsal process.

Why are theater festivals so very important?
The Ego Acts presentation of 100 Saints You Should Know is an independent, stand alone production. That is, it is the only show playing in the Urban Stages theater during our run. That is a refreshing change from the four festivals we are working in this year and the two other show runs where we are sharing the theater with another play in repertory. That being said, I find that theater festivals are fantastic, cost effective, opportunities to work in the business, doing what I love, and to form working relationships with a wide variety of fellow artists. Doing theater, especially in New York City is expensive, and festivals, although they limit your scope, especially in the design arts, are a great way to get some work.