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Yesterday Iran / Today Iraq

nytheatre.com q&a preview by L. S. Goldberg
June 18, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Producer/Writer.

What is your show about?
On the eve of his first deployment to Iraq, Pvt. Steven (Stippy) Goodman discovers a mysterious box of letters from his grandfather.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I knew I wanted to work in theater when I was seven years old and had to write a play for Sunday school. I chose the story of the Maccabees and the meaning behind Hanukkah. A snow storm hit the day of the play, and none of the cast showed up. I believed the play must go on, so I presented the play to a small but enthusiastic audience, and I read all 11 parts. I fell in love with theater that night when my determination to "go on with the show" no matter what, the love for creating and acting out the parts, and the audience's appreciation for my solo efforts gave me the impetus that remains with me to this day.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that...?
My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that is based on letters from a Second World War veteran and conversations with Iraq veterans. Yesterday Iran/Today Iraq showcases two neighboring but different countries Iran and Iraq during two different eras.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
The audience most likely will discuss the play into the wee hours of the night due to the subject matter--war--the way the past impacts the present, the use of technology today, and the role of censorship in political and military affairs.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Audra McDonald?
Maggie Smith--she can do more with her raised eyebrows than most actors can in delivering a line!

Why are theater festivals so very important?
Theatre festivals afford visibility that may be difficult to come by otherwise. Festivals offer the hope that enough people will see and love a play to help propel it forward to find its next home and to make it even better. Festivals teach one "how to fly by the seat of one's pants," which is an element that encompasses all theatre work.