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Lighthouse Triptych

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Stephanie Lane
May 16, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright, performer, choreographer, producer.

What is your show about?
Lighthouse Triptych is a dance-music-theater performance inspired by Virginia Woolf's novel, To the Lighthouse. Interweaving choreography, text, music, and sound in three stylistically distinct acts, the show addresses the passage of time and our perceptions of chaos versus control.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Milford, Connecticut, and danced for 15 years at a great studio there, the Lee Lund Studio of Dance. I went to Columbia University here in New York, and ended up transferring to Barnard College.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I'm a stage creature, and theater demands a lot of me. I enjoy walking that line of energy between the audience and performer - if it's not pulled tight enough you're doomed. You can feel the quiver of it in each step, each move you make. Then, in making theater, I enjoy the demands, the responsibility: there's the responsibility you have to your cast and crew, the responsibility you have to the audience, and the responsibility you have to yourself in your relationship with the material. I'm attracted to whatever demands the most of me.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
Lucky me, to have this group of people to work with! I met sound designer Mark Van Hare while working with a group of Barnard and Columbia alumni on our devised comedy, Dr. Apple's Last Lecture, which we brought to Edinburgh in 2011. He designed our sound for that show. Mark brought in his friend Jamie Watkins, whom he knows from Vassar, as our director for Lighthouse Triptych. Kyle Gerry, who plays Mr. Ramsay, is a great friend of mine from Columbia and a very talented dancer. This will be his acting debut. And Mackenzie Jahnke, who plays Lily Briscoe and Mrs. McNab, is one of Kyle's oldest friends from Eugene, Oregon, and is a remarkable actress. Our lighting designer, Abby Hoke-Brady, worked with Jamie recently on "Born with Teeth" at Signature. I must also mention my good friend Devon Werden, who collaborated with me on making Lighthouse Triptych for its workshop production at Dixon Place in January. Devon and I were 17-year-old roommates one memorable summer at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. Also, there's Carly Hoogendyk, who spearheaded Dr. Apple's Last Lecture and helped produce Lighthouse Triptych in its workshop production and has been a big source of encouragement!

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Jennifer Lawrence?
Maggie Smith.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I really like this question. Here's what I'd do: I'd take any little ideas my crew has and load them in excess onto a huge stage - like truckloads of dirt or tons of water, à la Pina Bausch, or thousands of dollars worth of lighting sculpture, à la Robert Wilson. I'd amp up to the MAX all wild design elements on stage and meanwhile I'd be paying everyone I'm working with excellently so that we could quit all other jobs and retreat somewhere beautiful together to rehearse ad nauseum. The result would be (of course!) carefully crafted story and choreography and music woven into a fantastical wonderland of a stage. Watching that kind of production stretches my imagination and my sense of possibility and brings me to life. I think that's a worthy thing to spend ten million dollars on - you just have to bring in hundreds of thousands of audience members so that your reach is wide. To do that, I'd make the tickets free. So: imagination-expanding, wild theater-dance, on a big stage, for free = ten million dollars well spent.