nytheatre.com q&a preview by Tom Berdik
September 30, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born in Zagreb, Croatia. My parents immigrated to the lower East Side of Manhattan when I was six years old. I entered first grade at St. Stanislaus School on 8th Street barely knowing a word of English, which made making friends a challenge. At age nine, my family moved to the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. It was in the Bronx that I found my voice playing in rock bands throughout High School. My theater roots however didn't take hold until I landed in the Drama Department at Queens College.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I do Theater because I have to.....for my own sanity. On a very basic level I am not at my best when I am away from it for too long. I gain weight, get into bad habits and lose focus on whats important in my life. Working on a play grounds me physically, and emotionally. Exploring my characters inner life puts me in touch with my own humanity. At it's best, the Theatrical process from rehearsal to performance is at once terrifying, exhilarating and life affirming! Whats not to like.
What was the most memorable/funny/unusual thing that has happened during the development and rehearsal process for this show?
The Tarragona cast has had a lot of laughs during the rehearsal process. The most memorable for me personally was an exchange between my character Greg and Charles played by Jon Weber. It was a short scene where Charles says to Greg, "What do I think?..." After hearing those four words, like Pavlov's dog, I would erupt into a burst of laughter to the point of tears. Unfortunately, this was something that only I found humorous and was grateful for our Director Elysa's patience. With four days before the opening I think I finally have my impulses under control.....I hope. It is live theater after all.
Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Bruce Springsteen writes songs about the Everyman. People who are forced to make hard choices, struggle with inner demons and take leaps of faith. I am sure Bruce would enjoy Greg's often humorous journey from the La Brea Tar Pits of his own mind to his courageous decision to face the unknown, leading to life changing discoveries about himself and the world around him.
Who are your heroes?
On an artistic level, I have too many Heroes to mention whose work speaks to me and moves me deeply. I am grateful for each and everyone of them. The Heroes that I want to discuss are the "good people" around us that we may or may not be aware of. In the words of our playwright Gary Giovannetti, "People think that someone is born a good person and that's all. No. People who are good people have to try to be good." I have been as moved by the kindness of a stranger as I have by a beautiful work of art. Here's to the "good people" out there who are making a difference in the world through the strength of their convictions. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Peace.