nytheatre.com q&a preview by Megan Murtha
September 2, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Playwright and Producer.
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
What most interests me is theater that requires multiple answers to any one question, where those multiple answers reveal the layers of complexity in the work. Simple questions with one answer don't offer the collaborative search for meaning that more exploratory theater does. A room of actors alongside the playwright and director all scratching their heads and helping each other create back stories and logic is the best way to breathe life into the production of a new play. As far as "type" goes, I guess I'd call it: expansimental.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
The immediacy and ever-changing nature of it keeps it alive. It's never just a "play" with spectators like some static thing with a screen buffering the viewer from the experience, but an art form that (should) require and feed on the audience being present physically and mentally. No two shows are alike since the audience is part of the show. They have as much influence on what happens to the energy of a show as the light-cues. And once it's over, it's gone and more needs to be made. Perhaps that part appeals to the workaholic in me...
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
On the surface this play is about an old whaling town and how the people in it (even those who disappear) make up its personality. On a deeper level, it looks at our compulsion to carry on habits that don't have clear origins to us anymore, but that we assume responsibility for regardless. How might this compulsion to stay connected with habit and routine fracture our connections with our cultural roots and each other in the present? I guess the hope is that audiences will leave with a snapshot of the dangers lurking in whaling towns.
Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Since I do not know who Snooki is, and I have a personal vendetta against "The Boss," I'd say Thomas Edison would enjoy this show for how it disguises its stealing from other thinkers by presenting itself as a newly invented work of art.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I can't think of a more giving medium that encourages catharsis, empathy and communal experience.