Garden of Delights
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Kaylin Lee Clinton
November 7, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
My parents remember the early performances: apparently at the age of two, I stood up in the middle of the public baby pool and belted out "Suddenly Seymour" while clouds of yellow billowed forth around me. A colleague recently suggested that this was early "performance art," and that I should repeat the show. Here's looking at you, Washington Square Park fountain! Things came into crystal clear focus, however, when I saw a touring company of "Les Miz" at the age of six. As soon as Young Cosette walked on that stage, I was profoundly jealous. I didn't realize this was something you could do! Let alone, that a KID could do! I went home and wrote snarky comments about her in my program. I wonder if she's famous now.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I love working on film, and I also sing jazz and perform my own music, but theatre-- it stays with you because the only way you can take it with you and relive the experience is to add yourself to it. I remember seeing "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway in the '90s with Brian Dennehy and Elizabeth Franz, and being amazed at how the whole audience cried. How tissues were passed between strangers, and how everyone left the theatre reflecting-- not just on what they'd seen, but on themselves. It's that shared catharsis. Whenever I have the opportunity to be a conduit for some part of that, I feel-- right in this world.
Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
Here's what I predict: five minutes after this show, the audience may experience some confusion. They will feel a visceral reaction to what they've seen, but they won't know why. An hour later, they may start to wonder and discuss what in the play was real, what was not real, which parts of the play were true. In the wee hours of the night, they'll realize that their dreams give surreal representations of their feelings and memories, just like this play. This play is one that will infect the mind. It has mine!
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
This play is Harpo. Dressed up like Groucho. Doing a fabulous mirror routine with an exaggerated fun-house mirror.
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Oh man. I'd pay salaries for really great teachers to go live and create theatre programs in schools all over this country. And maybe some other countries, too. Then I'd send up a fund to create exchange conferences between all those theatre programs. Finally, I'd set up an end of the year trip for students to visit Bali and see theatre that's used as an integral part of daily life. Do I have any money left? Can I quit my day job, too?