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The Violin Maker

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Roark Littlefield
June 24, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Writer and Director.

What is your show about?
It is about two people in love who are saying goodbye.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I want to create work that is truly theatrical as opposed to much of what we see in new plays today, which is essentially television writing by people who really want to be doing TV but aren't, so they do it live. Unfortunately this is also the kind of theatre that many audiences respond to because they recognize it as similar to what they see on TV. The best theatre should be an intense, intimate experience that happens in a room full of live human beings, a few of whom, the actors, control the experience by performing a ritual for the rest of the human beings, who truly have no idea what is going to happen next. It should have a sense of danger. And it should be something that could not have that same intensity if it was experienced on a screen.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I began as a magician and producer of Haunted House attractions in Ohio. I started directing in college and co-founded a small company in Toledo that did classic theatre. I directed Twelfth Night, Uncle Vanya and I adapted and directed Cocteau's La Voix Humaine. Later on I moved to New York and directed Hedda Gabler. I eventually started directing new plays, specifically those written by my wife Karin Fazio. The Violin Maker is the first play I've written, and I am looking forward to directing it as well.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
There is a fair amount of nudity in The Violin Maker, so anyone who is wearing clothes might feel uncomfortable. But they needn't.

Which character from a Shakespeare play would like your show the best: King Lear, Puck, Rosalind, or Lady Macbeth -- and why?
If Rosalind liked it I would be very flattered.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would produce theatre in found spaces that exist in remote areas that happen to have a fair amount of travelers passing through. Places that don't have artistic theatre or what we call high culture. Old prisons or battlefields or factories that have become tourist attractions far away from major cultural centers. Imagine bringing the best actors in New York or London and combining them with the best local actors from some community in Montana or Alabama and dong Macbeth in a found space that has some beautiful macabre reputation. Or doing Waiting for Godot in some abandoned prison in rural Texas and pairing Simon Russell Beale with some brilliant local character who always wanted to act in that play but always ended up playing Santa at the mall. It would be geared towards local audiences while avoiding the trappings of mediocrity that currently plague regional and community theatre. The audience would be small and made up of the few that were really interested but didn't live in New York or Chicago. If one is going to spend ten million dollars on an artistic project, that sounds like a fine way to do it.