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Butoh Electra

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Erika Weinheimer
August 31, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Actor.

Do you like to read plays, or just perform them?
I love to read plays, as well as perform. Since I am relatively new to New York, I am fascinated by the Performing Arts Library. Every few weeks I go in there and get a whole new batch of plays to read on the subway. Although for a while I had been spending time reading more classic plays, playwrights like Sarah Ruhl, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, and Jenny Lyn Bader have changed my tune. It's no wonder Butoh Electra caught my attention since it is a very contemporary take on one of the oldest plays.

What was the last show you saw that really excited you, and why?
When the house lights came up after I saw Cock at the Duke on 42nd Street, it was one of those rare times I could not talk right away. My friend and I needed to take a minute to collect ourselves before leaving and walking back into the craziness of Times Square. In my opinion, the minimalism of the staging made way for exceedingly real and complex performances. And for me, the Father's character and his unique relationships and perspectives on the other characters were the surprising highlight.

What was the most memorable/funny/unusual thing that has happened during the development and rehearsal process for this show?
The auditions for this show were unlike anything I have done before. We did a martial arts combination, some tumbling, and some basic Butoh (If you are want to know what Butoh is, come see the show!). After crawling around, growling in a circle, cartwheels, right hooks, one bleeding actor (our Orestes, Torrey Wigfield), and much more in a thirty minute audition, the fight choreographer (Christian Leadley) asked the producer/writer (Jordin Rosin) if there was anything else he'd like to see. As I braced myself for the something outrageous or physically impossible (the last movement had been a type of backward roll that I didn't have the arm strength to do properly!), Christian demonstrated what Jordan specifically requested to see: He laid down on his stomach and just rolled to the side all the way across the room, just like you would roll down a hill. It seemed so fun and silly for an audition that had been so physically demanding from the minute we walked in. And I still have not figured out just what they were looking for at that point.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Definitely surprising. While you may think you may know Electra, you won't know what will happen next, or how it will happen. Butoh aims to bring out emotions, movements and thoughts that the actors and characters try to keep hidden, so very unexpected things happen often.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Theater can change people. By offering different perspectives and different stories, an audience member is forced to look at something she may have never considered before. No matter what show you see, you walk away understanding the reason's behind someone else's actions. I think this translates into empathy and understanding toward people in your own life, or even politicians on TV. Imagine the wonderful changes that could happen if everyone respected others' perspectives.