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Bears

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Kristin McCarthy Parker
February 27, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What is your show about?
Two captive grizzlies, Growl Bear and Timmy Bear, find themselves stuck in a suddenly deserted zoo. Enter Susie, a wild-born bear, who convinces them to leave the safety of their cave and venture into the wilderness. Once there, they must survive in an unfamiliar and hostile environment while coming to terms with what it truly means to be a bear.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I didn't really get into theater until high school, after I gave up playing individual sports. Aside from the welcome and support I immediately felt within the arts, I loved the creative aspects of live storytelling and the inherent rewards of working with a group of people toward a common goal. The thrill of putting up a show, especially once I got into directing, is something I haven't been able to match anywhere else in my life.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
... has grizzly bears going through an identity crisis... to comedic effect.

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?
It's far from polished, but there's a really great moment we just staged today that I can't wait to revisit. This play talks a lot about loneliness, how awful and necessary it is... It's one of Growl Bear's heaviest burdens. Without giving too much away, the moment I'm thinking of is toward the end of play, when Growl Bear is totally self-actualized and surrounded by his achievements, and he's still carrying this oppressive loneliness. It's a beautiful sentiment and something I think a lot of New Yorkers will relate to.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Definitely Springsteen. He'd identify with the financial hardship that forces the bears to leave the zoo. Timmy and Growl Bear also have this idealism that gets challenged out in the wilderness, which Springsteen would probably compare to the American Dream :)

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Of course. All storytelling can bring about societal change. We, as a society and as individuals, define our experience of being alive with stories: myths, fiction, history. These narratives influence how we think and speak about ourselves and the world. Really powerful plays, then, can change the discourse around a particular subject, which is the best way to instigate societal change.