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Camille

nytheatre.com q&a preview by John V.N. Philip
January 10, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What is your show about?
The raucous life of Marguerite Gautier in Paris 1848, mistress to the stars of her day - she loves, she laughs, she disdains love, she dies??? - come laugh with her, and us.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
There is nothing like comedy. And there was nothing like Charles Ludlam's "Ridiculous Theatre" when it came to comedy in New York in the seventies. It's been my passion for years to bring all the raucous laughter he gave us back to the New York stage. And I have been a friend of Steve Hayes for decades (I admit it - "decades"!). And when he was available to do this there was no question - I had to direct a revival.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Theatre is real. All acting can be real - theatre, film or stage - but only theatre puts the audience in a real space in real time - and lets them feel the emotions the piece evokes in the intimacy of an audience of strangers. It's magic - as we all know.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
They will never stop talking about it - ok - I'm prejudiced. But Ludlam wrote immortal lines: "Camille, you make a divine Hollandaise" "Yes, especially around the Jewish Holidays" And that is just one teeny tiny little piece of one hour and forty minutes of puns, groaning and otherwise, hilarious takes, comic drag - and ebullient melodrama.

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
I'll leave that to my partner and co-producer - and the originator of the fantastic costumes and sets - Andrew Loren Resto. But I bet it's anyone on this list except Marge Simpson.

Theater is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Theater is "it" for our times - I think. Yes - everything counts, and every work by everyone - on a stage - in a factory - in a store - in every enterprise - we are all part of it. But theatre connects I believe like nothing else. And makes us see the connectivity between all lives, no matter what their pursuits. And comedy - above all in theater - unites us. We all love to laugh.