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K COMMA JOSEPH

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Josh Liveright
October 19, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I enjoy developing new plays, unproven material... work that is inherently theatrical. What most interests me is prying open the unconscious aspects of the psyche in order to give the audience a dose of themselves that hopefully allows for some sort of epiphany or cathartic experience. If that doesn't work, I generally just want them to have some fun rather than squirm in their seats for two hours.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I ran Zena Group in the early nineties out of the One Dream Theater in Tribeca where I worked with some amazing playwrights including the late Mark O'Donnell, Jose Rivera, Neena Beeber, Gilbert Girion and Glen Berger. In the early two thousands I worked with the Interart Theatre in Hell's Kitchen and got the chance to develop my own plays. My most recent project was a new play dealing with the issue of torture called ALTERNATIVE METHODS where I won the Outstanding Excellence in Directing award for the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival, which surprised the hell of me.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
Not appropriate for children! And this is particularly poignant coming from me as one of my family rituals is to watch THE BIG LEBOWSKI every Thanksgiving with my two kids (now 7 and 10). They will not be allowed to come see this play, however.

Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
I'd have to go with Harpo although I'm not entirely sure why. He's my favorite Marx Brother and was a friend of my late great-great aunt Mary Ellis. One of the characters in the play does have hair like Harpo though.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Sure! A kind remark to a stranger can bring societal change so certainly theater can. This play delves into the darkness that lies beneath the surface in every one of us. A new friend of mine just pointed out that we walk a knife's edge between the light and the dark. That we live in a universe where matter and anti-matter both exist but there is only slightly more matter than anti-matter. If this is true then we can easily swing either way but staying conscious of the light is pretty much what will keep us moving toward survival as a species. If we don't at least acknowledge the dark side, we may just fall into the abyss. This play is about a man who learns this lesson the hard way.