nytheatre.com q&a preview by Sanaz Ghajarrahimi
June 27, 2013
What is your job on this show?
Writer and Director .
What is your show about?
Against the brutality of time and politics, RED WEDNESDAY seeks to rescue and redefine our legacy. Confessions of unrest, reformation, decadence, and loss conspire to provide conclusive evidence of the glamor of an era that is dying and the valor of a new age that is emerging.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I had the opportunity to see Jonathan Kalb speak at Under the Radar this past year. Something he said continues to resonate for me, which is that theater has the potential to "raise the stakes for Culture beyond diversion for the tired businessman... we want to ponder the monumental... we long to lose ourselves in elaborate story arcs... make epic pronouncements about the nature of mankind... and it is the peculiar methods of theater that are best at exploring this." Essentially, that is why I do it. I find it to be the most expressive way for me to ask hugely difficult questions that may not be answerable but are nonetheless important to ask. Also, in Kalb's latest book he describes the kind of theater that is necessary: "theater that is not merely clever, edifying, or entertaining but inspiringly ambitious, that gathers people together in ways they scarcely thought possible, confirming their common humanity." I'm always thinking about that, working towards that, seeking it out. My mom once said to me, "our family has used war to manifest progress, but you are using art." I think that is what's so powerful about theater, actually art in general. It can ignite change through creation vs. destruction. It's magical really.
Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
We went to Istanbul this past June during the Gezi Park protests and we are pulling quite a bit of inspiration from our involvement there. Things we saw: armored water cannons and the resilience of those targeted by them, late night communal chanting/dancing/performances in the park, Turkish youth wearing gas masks organizing with passion and focus, people running back into the chaos of yellow smoke to rescue fellow protestors who were injured... at one point we found ourselves in the middle of it all running from tear gas that was being at the crowds of citizens by the police. These moments have inspired a very particular point of view on revolution that will come to a zenith in the final moment of the show. It will be wild. It will be muscular. Hopefully it will inspire.
Which character from a Shakespeare play would like your show the best: King Lear, Puck, Rosalind, or Lady Macbeth -- and why?
King Lear. I think Lear would be impressed with our ability to humanize those in power amidst the heavy judgements and negative press that those leaders are subjected to. I think he'd dig our point of view on the burdens that come with leadership. I think he would connect to a lot of the controversial figures we bring up in Red Wednesday. I'd be interested in talking to him after the show... "and 'tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age; Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburthen'd crawl toward death."
Who are your heroes?
Daniel Ellsberg, Arianna Huffington, Banksy, Pina Bausch, my grandfather