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Marcellus Shale

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Paul Zimet
May 1, 2013

What is your job on this show?
playwright/director.

What is your show about?
Inspired by interviews with people living on the Marcellus Shale and by the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel DEMONS, the Talking Band production,MARCELLUS SHALE, is a music-theater work set in 2016 in a rural community in upstate New York where the landscape has been transformed, and friends and families have been divided by fracking as they confront the questions: What really matters to you? What would be the last thing you would give up? What do you consider a good life? And is your own life a good life?

What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
Practice and teach Aikdo. Volunteer as a mediator with the New York Peace Institute

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
Directed Taylor Mac's WALK ACROSS AMERICA FOR MOTHER EARTH and PART I, THE LILY'S REVENGE; Ellen Maddow's PAINTED SNAKE IN A PAINTED CHAIR (13 Obies) and DELICIOUS RIVERS; my IMMINENCE, NEW ISLANDS ARCHIPELAGO, BITTERROOT, and STAR MESSENGERS

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?
When the Men in Sunday Suits levitate

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
All theater is political. It is either political by choice or by default. If the theater you create reaffirms what is most shallow in our culture, then its absence of criticism, or interest in imagining alternatives, makes it unconsciously political.