If You Start a Fire [Be Prepare to Burn]
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Spencer Rose
August 20, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Are there boundaries as to what kind of theatre you will take part in?
I think good theatre is all about pushing boundaries; exploring the messy, gray areas that a lot of people are too afraid to discuss. When I'm portraying a character with wildly different beliefs than my own, I often make new and exciting discoveries about where I stand on a range of difficult topics. I mean, how better to understand your own boundaries as an individual than to fully envelope yourself in someone else's, right? That being said, I also think good theatre is meant to be a cathartic experience. Thus, the issue isn't in what boundaries you push, but in how you present the characters and situations that best tell your story. Push boundaries- just do so in a way that positively contributes to, and progresses, the overall conversation.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
During a live show you don't have the opportunity to "cut" and do another take. You forget a line? Your wig falls off? You have to run with it. It's an incredible feeling, being so completely in touch with the character you're playing, while also constantly being on your toes as an actor, prepared for whatever curveball the evening's performance throws at you. I see the theatre as a living, breathing experience; one that creates this magical energy between the performers onstage, as well as the performers and the audience, that is so palpable you can almost grab it, bottle it, and sell it as a drug to out-of-work actors in need of a fix. It's an absolutely electric, once-in-a-lifetime experience that the actor gets to recreate eight times a week. Magic.
What was the most memorable/funny/unusual thing that has happened during the development and rehearsal process for this show?
We recently had a photo shoot which quickly turned memorable, funny, and unusual. Let's just say it involved very little clothing and a very daunting cucumber. I'll leave the rest up to your imagination...
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
I'm going to break the rules and choose two: Sexy and Smart. The play is definitely HOTT (with two T's!) but in more of a dark, clever way than a Playboy centerfold kind of a way. Well, I guess there's a little of that too...
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
If Twitter can help start a revolution, theatre can too. Coincidentally, the issue of technology and how it relates to human interaction is a rampant theme in "If You Start a Fire [Be Prepared to Burn]". The times, they are a changin'...