1-In your own words, describe the production? Including key themes and conflicts…why is this the right time for this production?
This production has surpassed every expectation I ever wished for it. My mind has been constantly blown by this creative team. Everyone has poured their heart and soul into this production. And it shows. It’s an obscure play to many, and to many it is their favorite play. So the audience reaction every night gives me life. The set is GORGEOUS! It’s literally an Alaskan cabin in a 65-seat off-off-Broadway theatre. The lighting design is stunning. You’re in a storm. And you feel it. AND! We custom built a wedding gown for Alyssa May Gold. I’m telling you, this creative team is hitting home run after home run. Matthew S. Crane, Paul T. Kennedy, and Todd Trosclair are my heroes.
When we discussed why we wanted to this THIS story ... we kept saying that everyone can relate to emotional trauma; so this play is definitely resonating with audiences. Two people, so very scarred by life, get a chance of a lifetime - the chance to have a do-over. And they don’t know what to do with that opportunity. Together, they battle and bounce all over our stage, ultimately fighting for what they truly believe in and unknowingly helping each other out of the darkness of their pasts and walk into a lighter future. Themes we explore? Love. Loss. Death. Pain. Suffering. Pleasure. Humanity. Family. Connection. Fear. Ya know, LIFE!
With all that is going on in the world and in our own country, there’s never been a better time to hold a mirror up to everyone’s face and ask “are you doing everything you can to connect to the world around you and love as hard as you can?”
2-Who are your collaborators and what do you like about working with them?
My collaborators are the artists with whom I surround myself that push me to be a clearer, more specific voice and an artist who believes foremost in craft and reason. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with really incredible emerging playwrights and super talented actors who don’t get enough credit for the brilliance they do. These are the people in my profession who inspire me to be the best I can be.
Plus, I ain’t about to let someone take my job!
3-Who is the typical audience for the production? What do you want audiences to get out of the show (ie: feel when they leave the theater)?
I really wanted the audience to feel like they had experienced a wild roller coaster ride of emotions. I want my audience to feel wrecked. Life is about exploration. The second we stop feeling, we are dead. I transport them to an Alaskan cabin in the middle of a snowstorm and for 90 minutes I never let them off the hook. I want so much that this be experiential for my audience in other ways than just what’s happening on the stage. I’m throwing a lot at these audiences. And when I see my audiences laughing, crying, wincing or even covering up with their jackets, I know we are onto something!
We are getting an incredible mixed house every night. This production is bringing in a beautiful and eclectic mix of audiences. I couldn’t be happier and prouder of the story we are telling.
4-Who is someone (or something) who has inspired you?
My parents inspire me daily to be the best person I can be, to give selflessly, to think of others first before myself, and to love my family and friends with all of my heart. They’re my role models. They are the reason I’m grounded in incredibly ungrounding profession. It’s cliché, but I’m really lucky. My mom and Dad, and my siblings are my biggest fans. My only fans, actually...
I am inspired by art. I collect paintings, sculptures, African masks, and I paint myself. Ok, I’ll use “I paint myself” loosely. My motto in life is “It’s about the art. It’s always about the art!” Art is the blood memory coursing through my veins. Art is the reason I take a breath every day. Art changes lives. Art is power. (Full disclosure - I even have a few paintings of myself.) Y’all, you have not LIVED until you wake up fresh-faced and starry-eyed under an enormous oil painting of your face.
So yeah, Mom, Dad, & Art. I guess that’s my autobiography title.
5-Why theatre, when did you know you wanted to be a director?
Theatre has the power to change someone’s life. It really does. It’s an incredibly profound experience. I think back to my childhood and the power I always felt sitting in a theatre experiencing that type of story telling. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, any way that I could! I connected to it from a very young age. So, looking back, my journey to becoming a stage director is so clear to me.
I think I’ve always been drawn to directing in some capacity. But in 2012 I had the opportunity to direct Tape by Stephen Belber, and I fell in love. I fell hard. It’s like a monster was awakened inside of me. And it’s all I want to do now. Tell stories. Solve problems. Create art. Direct. Direct. Direct. Lather, rinse, repeat.
RYAN QUINN (Breitwisch Farm Director) serves as the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Esperance Theater Company. For Esperance he has directed Twelfth Night, and Youth and Ambition. Additionally, he has directed for The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (Romeo and Juliet, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Macbeth), The Milwaukee Rep (So Thrive My Soul, and upcoming in summer of ’18 Lost Girl), Long Island Post University, TinyRhino, NYU’s Atlantic Acting School, and NYU’s MFA Playwriting Program and others.
As an actor Ryan most recently worked at The American Repertory Theater in Sense and Sensibility. Off-Broadway: Whorl Inside a Loop at Second Stage; The Killer, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, and Hamlet at Theater for a New Audience, Vanity Fair at The Pearl and Dead Dog Park at 59E59th. He is most proud of returning to Wisconsin to perform Eugene in Yellowman at Milwaukee Rep, and with his eight seasons with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Regionally, he has also worked at The Old Globe, Yale Repertory Theater, and many others. Ryan received his BA in Theater from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and then attended The Yale School of Drama, where he received his MFA in acting.
JEREMY J. KAMPS (Brietwisch Farm Playwright) is a current member of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, Playwright-in-Residence for Esperance Theater Company and Spectrum Theater Ensemble. Recent productions include Runaway Home at the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles and 13th Point at The Public Theater Joe’s Pub.
His plays have received awards and recognition including: The William Saroyan Human Rights Award Finalist 2016, Page 73 Semi-Finalist (2017), The Ruby Lloyd Apsey Award (Gutting), The Goldberg Prize, Woodward International Playwriting (What It Means To Disappear Here), Hudson Valley Writers Center and the NYU Festival of New Works (Water Hyacinth).
Selected productions include Gutting, presented by the National Black Theatre of Harlem in Fall of 2015, What It Means To Disappear Here (Ugly Rhino, NYC) in spring of 2013. His work has been produced/developed with Esperance Theater Company, Company Cypher at the National Black Theatre of Harlem, Ugly Rhino, Dixon Place, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, The Amoralists and New York Theatre Workshop. His fiction has received publication in The Madison Review as well as the H.E. Francis Award (“The Source of Everything”), the Tom Howard/John Reid Fiction Prize (“Drawing Water”), The Little Patuxent (“Locked Out”), Lamar York Prize finalist and recognition in Glimmertrain, Inkwell, The Caribbean Writer, and New Millenium.
As an educator and activist, Jeremy has lived and worked for lengthy periods of time in Latin America, India and East Africa where he focused on support and empowerment for former child soldiers, displaced peoples and child rights. He received the Theatre Communications Group “On the Road” grant in 2015 to return to Kenya where he conducted drama workshops as part of his research for a new play on flower farms. After 8 years as a full-time middle school classroom teacher, Kamps has facilitated drama and writing workshops around the world and of all ages. His most recent partnerships being with Rikers Island Correctional Facilities and Newark Community Solutions focused on men re-entering society after incarceration. MFA: New York University Tisch School of the Arts in Dramatic Writing. Upcoming: Runaway Home at Southern Repertory Theater (NYC).
JOSHUA WARR (Brilliant Traces Director) Un Film de Jean Paul Giraud (Barrow Group Theatre); Untapped Talents (Ruddy Productions/John Desotelle Studio Theatre); Orion (Theatre Row/Studio Theatre); Lady Gay: All of Me (Feinstein's/54 Below); Knowledge of Sin (Manhattan Repertory Theatre); Haywire (Manhattan Repertory Theatre); Men’s Monthly (Ruddy Productions/Kraine Theatre); Survival Strategy (Ruddy Productions/John Desotelle Studio Theatre); The Blue Djinn (The Wild Project); An Infinite Ache (Access Theatre); Tape (Abingdon Theatre/Dorothy Strelsin). Staged Readings: The Murder Play (Ruddy Productions); Coyote (Ruddy Productions); 3 Bedrooms, 1 Couch (Players Club); Party of One (Shetler Studios). Film: Mære, Haywire, The Rehearsal. Joshua is also the Associate Artistic Director and the Director-in-Residence of Ruddy Productions and the founder of Art of Warr Productions. www.joshuawarr.com
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