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Animals

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Kristin Skye Hoffmann
July 23, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Director.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I think an easier question would be “When did you learn to speak about wanting to work in theatre?” In other words, I can’t remember a time when I did not want to perform or tell stories. As a child, my like-minded friends and I would choreograph dances to the songs of the “Disney Afternoon” cartoon line-up and perform them for our parents. We acted out scenes from our favorite movies (can you say THE GOONIES?) and cast each other in our own original works. This love of theatre carried me all the way to university. It was pretty difficult for my mother to argue with me when I said I wanted to major in Performing Arts. There was no way for her to say, “Remember when you were interested in that other thing?” because there wasn’t “that other thing.” It was always theatre.

Have you been part of FringeNYC in the past? If so, how did you particpate? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I'm very lucky to be the Founding Artistic Director of our company, Wide Eyed Productions. Wide Eyed has contributed 3 different shows in previous years at Fringe. The first was a double bill in 2009 of a children's musical, Jack and the Soy Beanstalk by Jerrod Bogard and Sky Seals (which has since been published by Sam French...) and a Comedia inspired "clown show" called A World Elsewhere! Arias in the Key of Clown created by Ben Newman. Then in FringeNYC 2011 we returned with Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears (also by Bogard and Seals). This was another wonderful musical for kids. We had a great time with all those productions and this year we are very excited to have an "adult" play to offer the Fringe audience.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
Last year I completed my first semester in the Directing MFA program at The New School for Drama. The training there focuses heavily on Directors and Playwrights learning constructive ways to collaborate with one another to create important original work. I was lucky enough to be paired with Sam Byron in our first collaborative piece at school. It was a site specific play called S.V.P. that dealt with the collapse of the American economy. (fun fact: Jeffery Adams who plays DREW in Animals was featured in that play!) Anyway, from that point forward Sam and I have had a great understanding of one another and our working relationship continues to grow. Our cast is made up of Wide Eyed Co-Founder Sky Seals, 2 NSD Acting MFA students Jeff Adams and Leif Steinert and two actresses who were brought to us from our fantastic casting director, Kate Murray. Its a powerhouse team to say the least.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
The best "S" word would be: Smoosexmarting....I can make up a word, right?

Why should people come to FringeNYC this summer, rather than the beach, mountains, or the latest movie blockbuster?
I don't think people should come to the theatre INSTEAD OF anything. I do think seeing bare bones performance art from all over the country (and in some cases world) should be something that people do as part of their usual entertainment rituals. It just so happens that Fringe offers all of these things at affordable prices in the best part of Downtown New York. It simply makes good sense to go catch a show (may I suggest ANIMALS?) and THEN head to the beach, mountains or latest movie blockbuster. Experiencing a live play can only prove to enhance the experience one has doing all those other things. Its truly like nothing else.