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.
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