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Alcestis Ascending

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Seth Panitch
May 23, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright/ Director.

What is your show about?
When the thread of his life runs out, King Admetus allows his wife Alcestis to take his place in death; face to face with the specter of his own self- absorption, he sets out to reclaim her from the Great Beyond.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I was, what my Mother (and pretty much everyone else in the world) called a hyperactive kid. Theatre is the only thing that ever challenged me enough to force me to sit still for longer than five minutes. I get the same thrill of the chase, of the challenge, when I work on it today, as that first production of "Charlotte's Web" in that Templeton the Rat fat suit.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
Will include actors and dancers from the National Theatre of Cuba. I might also say "that includes a three- headed hell-hound" but there might be one or two more of those.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
This play is the result of a six year collaboration with Cuban scholar/artists. We have met, studied, and performed on the playing field of Theatre, and that has made our relationship unique. We know each other as scholar/ artists first- before anything else.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SEXY. You can't put eighteen Cubans on the stage and not feel a bit SEXY.

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
Diversity is the only tool through which we in Theatre can remain relevant. The more homogenous we are with out storytelling, the fewer connections we will make to a modern audience.