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An Interrogation Primer

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Eric Ziegenhagen
July 12, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Director.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I like shows centered on actors and text. I like shows that actively involve the audience's empathy. I like shows that feel both like the most everyday parts of life and a vivid dream. I like shows where the performances change each time--the combination of an actor using honest energy and a live, engaged show: a creation instead of a re-creation, a presentation instead of a representation. I agree with director Gregory Mosher, who once said "I like it when someone shifting their weight onstage is a big deal."

Why did you want to be part of FringeNYC?
An Interrogation Primer ran in Chicago in fall 2012. The performer, Sean Bolger, did great work, and reviews were very positive. Our friends in other companies, including Theater Oobleck and New Colony, have brought their shows to FringeNYC in recent years and had great experiences. And we're theater people: we're proud of our work, so we're excited to have a chance to bring it to New York.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
By luck, once night in an indie bookstore, I read An Interrogation Primer in an anthology of writing by veterans from the war in Iraq. I had already read a lot about Abu Ghraib, as well as a good amount of writing that came out of earlier American wars. Five sentences into this piece, I realized that the voice worked dramatically, was engaging sentence by sentence, and would work onstage. It begin as an instructional essay about the proper ways to conduct a military interrogation. Any other interrogations I've ever seen onstage have involved two or more people, and have put this audience in the position of voyeur. This is a one-actor show with a chair and a table, which means the audience is the other party in the room. However, as the show progresses and our narrator goes from present-tense in Iraq to reflecting back, we become the ones interrogating him--putting him in the spotlight, questioning his actions.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising. We're bringing a fresh approach to theater and a fresh experience. It's an intense, dense half hour. We don't waste a minute of your attention, and we don't take the audiences attention for granted.

Why should people come to FringeNYC this summer, rather than the beach, mountains, or the latest movie blockbuster?
Usually with plays, you're stuck in a room for two or three hours and you've spent a good deal of money. With the Fringe, it's more like committing to a good, long magazine article, or a short story. You're with us for a short while. And you've still got time to enjoy the summer afternoon or evening, before and after each performance.