The Water Children
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Mary McGloin
September 4, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
When I was a little girl, I couldn't decide what I wanted to be. I knew I didn't want to do anything practical. Early career choices were international woman of mystery (spy), rock star, or writer. They changed often but were always either about art or saving the world or protecting it from injustice. Then, at 8 years old, my father, who was the principal of the high school, took me to the school musical, Once Upon A Matress. I saw this girl playing Winnifred and I thought, "I can do that" and I realized that if I were an actress, I could be anything, play anyone, tell people's stories -- and that was just about the coolest thing ever. 8 years later, as a junior in high school, I played Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress on that same stage. There's a VHS tape lurking somewhere...........
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this fall that...?
Takes on the topic of abortion when women's reproductive health concerns and women's right are under attack daily by dueling political parties. It reminds audiences that independent theatre has the potential to alter the conversation and get people talking and thinking about current issues.
How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I have long since had a dream to create a production company that would take the talents of all the different artists I've known of all different mediums and utilize their talents to create works of art. Goodly Rotten Apple Productions is the start of that dream. John Philip Hamilton (Producer) and I work together at Tremor Video. John is a playwright from SF and we had often talked about how surprising it was we hadn't crossed paths when we were both in SF. We were talking about how we wanted to do more theatre here in NYC and John said why don't you produce a show, I'll help you. Then I did an acting retreat in Costa Rica with Alaine Alldaffer and after that retreat our group organized a scene night and one of the scenes she assigned me was from The Water Children by Wendy MacLeod. We talked about how the play seemed like it was written today and Alaine told us the story of how the first production was well received, but didn't get it's accolades until too late in the run and said, you should produce this, it's a really great role for you and I don't think it's been done in NYC since. So I set off to put it together. J. Paul Nicholas (Director) is a friend and fellow alum from my MFA program, The Shakespeare Theatre's Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University in DC. I ran into him while doing a reading for another alum and I told him about the show. He told me he was interested in directing and I had him read the play and tell me his vision for the show and that's how he came on board. The actors Katherine Barron, Tom Frank*, Molly Garber*, Carson Lee*, Mary McGloin*, Jennifer Terrell*, Ramón Olmos Torres, and Taylor Valentine* came from a combination of places, we put a call for actors out via AEA and Actor's Access, then it got syndicated all over the place. We had over 1500 submissions for the 8 slots. We were only able to actually audition just over 100 people. I was acting casting director and whittled down the number by type and role then by: 1. people we knew 2. people who knew people we knew 3. training and experience. It was very hard to whittle down. It was even harder to cast once we auditioned everyone. There's a lot of talented people in NYC, we could have cast it a few times, a few different ways. But we're very happy with the cast we found, some we've worked with before, some were completely new faces, and one was recommended by the playwright. Summer Lee Jack (Costumer) and Kevin Brouder (Sound) were both found through Paul's network of people, Molly Cohen our Stage Manager was found through my network on Linked In, and Jim Langan (Technical Director - Set and Lighting Designer) is a friend of mine through my friend Jennifer Terrell (Liz).
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Can I pick all of them? SMART if I have to settle on one.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
It can and it does. Theatre and it's storytelling is one of the oldest professions. We've had theatre since the beginnings of civilization. Theatre is a communion with the artist and the audience. When it's live it's immediate. It's intimate. It is urgent. It is necessary. And it is personal. People come to the theatre to be entertained, moved, laugh, cry, and reflect upon or forget about the troubles of their daily lives. It's what we lean on in hard times and look to for fun in good times. Art in all it's forms has not only the potential but I believe the responsibility to create change by asking big questions and fulfilling big dreams. Support your local theatre artist. Go see a play.