A Twist of Water
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Erica Weiss
October 18, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I was raised by a theatre and arts-loving family, and from a very early age I was singing, dancing, and making up plays in the living room. I started out wanting to be a Broadway diva, and the path to becoming a director crept up on me. It really started when I was twelve years old and saw the Lincoln Center production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard in the early 90’s. That play and production took my breath away, and revealed to me what is possible in the theatre.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
No form of entertainment has the immediacy or intimacy of the theatre. I set out to have a conversation, a shared experience that can only be found when people gather together and reckon with a story at the same time. When you experience a feeling of community in the theatre, there’s no artistic moment more profound.
How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
The playwright Caitlin Parrish and I met at The Theatre School at DePaul University when I was a sophomore and she was a freshman. Over the last near-decade, we have developed an artistic collaboration and friendship closer than I ever would have imagined possible. I am who I am today, as an artist and as a person, in large part because of her, and our commitment to constantly creating work together.
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
Chico. He has a retort for everything.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
The world doesn’t transform because we do a play. But, if we strive in the theatre to bring about personal change, people return to their everyday lives with broadened perspectives and imaginations, and more open hearts. It's not bombastic change, but it's what Tom Stoppard would call nudging the world. When theatre works, it creates recognition and empathy, and surely that's on the side of the angels.