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Fall of Rome

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Sarah Matusek
July 23, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director and Choreographer.

What is your show about?
A performance in vignettes, FALL OF ROME is a contemplation of strangers and strangeness inspired by a travel essay by Anne Carson.

Are there boundaries as to what kind of theatre you will take part in?
I am only interested in challenges.

Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
With the collaborative devised work I do I've learned to un-ask this question. Everyone invests and everyone trusts; each creative thinker on the team takes a turn at shaping the essence of a piece--even if only in a quiet way. The more diversity of opinion, taste, and practice, the richer the array of options for moving forward. A proud member of the six-person performance group Small Claims Court, we prize fresh, good ideas over personalities and titles. Accordingly, we split our show income six equal ways as we share equal ownership over our creative output.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
FALL OF ROME is best suited for ages 12+ and contains some gunshots. There's also some pizza in it so if you don't like pizza then you probably shouldn't come.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SURPRISING only in that the show changes every time I watch it. Sometimes directing a devised show is like trying to govern an ant farm. As a devised piece defines what it needs to be through a crazy-cumulative process, the work calls upon equal parts patience and elastic thinking. FALL OF ROME has survived many versions even in our limited rehearsal period of just five weeks and zero budget, with each successive draft whittled down to match our maturing vision. In other news, my playwright friend Sam Mayer working on the show is really SMART, so that helps a lot too.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
More pizza. Also I hope I'm never that rich.