Steve Seabrook: Better Than You
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Kurt Bodden
July 25, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Who are your heroes?
Verbally, I love Jack Benny and W.C. Fields for their great voices, unique style, and exquisite timing. Physically, I love Buster Keaton and Bill Irwin for their precision and daring as performers, and for the vulnerability of their characters.
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one in FringeNYC that...?
... could be mistaken (if you came in late) for a personal-growth seminar! I play it very straight. If people have attended seminars, they tend to tell me, "You nailed it, I really laughed, and I'm a little creeped out." If they haven't, they say, "Y'know ... some of what you said, even though you're making fun of it, actually was kinda helpful."
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Oh, I just HAD to create this show. I've benefited from the occasional self-help book and from personal coaching. But for years I've been amassing a file on the flip side - the manipulation, the intellectual thinness, the absurdity. This show was born from that ambivalence: I satirize because I care.
Can theatre bring about societal change? Why or why not?
I'm here to entertain, but I think that gathering strangers in the same room at the same time to experience something together is a good thing. This show engages an audience in a way that only works in a live setting. Someone told me that she came to be amused by this mock seminar, but her response led her to consider things about her own persona - that what began as a character study of this fictional character turns into a character study of the audience itself. And it's really funny. If you want to change things, then laughing and thinking is a good place to start.