Auditions, Zoe's Auditions Part 2
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Suzanna Geraghty
October 11, 2012
What is your job on this show?
playwright & actor.
Do you consider yourself a writer who also performs, an actor who also writes, or something else?
I would consider myself an aspiring “actor/ creator.” I only discovered this term by accident. I was leaning a little too heavily on a book shelf in the performance library. A book fell down and hit me in the nose. I went to kick it but missed and hit the corner of bookshelf instead and broke my toe. As I lay rolling around in agony on the library floor muttering curses at the book, I finally opened it and began to cry. Not because of the pain but because of the discovery that I was not alone, there were others like me. The book was by Jacque Lecoq and as I leafed through its pages it described the actor as an actor/ creator. As an actor I have longed to create my own work. But had no idea how to do so. Finally I had found a book (or perhaps the book found me) that was to change my life. I hobbled home , sold the refrigerator and bought a ticket for Paris where I attended the Jacque Lecoq school master class workshops.
If you have appeared in United Solo, tell us what show(s) you have done here previously. What about your prior experience led you back to this festival?
I am returning with my show “Auditions, Zoe’s Auditions” (not Part 2) to the United Solo as part of the Encore Group. The show received the Audience Award in 2011. Last year’s festival was an extraordinary experience for me. The material was very raw and had only received two staged reads in front of an audience in Ireland. I remember shaking in the wingings with so many doubts about the play and myself. I could hear the audience settle, the lights were about to go up and I realizing it was sink or swim time. I took a breath, stepped out and managed to swim. I don’t remember a single thing about the performance . It went so fast. After the audience stood their feet hollering an hooting and with 15 minutes to vacate the theatre for the next show –I knew I had to help Marcin get them out so invited the entire audience to the pub. A lot of them came, boy was it a great night!! I don’t know if I can repeat that. But I am delighted to be back at the United Solo and grateful to them for creating a festival that honors the work of the solo actor.
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
About this Show: What do I think the show is about? I think it’s about how to have dream and sustain the hope of that dream without it destroying one’s own happiness. That for me has been the greatest challenge as an actor. The dream , the longing to get an acting job and pinning my happiness on it. Feeling valuable if I landed a role and then feeling down if I didn’t get the part. The play features an aspiring actress Zoe ( my inner clown) whose dream is to get an acting job. She makes all the classic mistakes: she tries to please , to impress, she distorts herself to be what she perceives casting directors want. In the end she discovers that all that can ever be asked of her is to the find the truth of the role within her. She also discovers that making the stakes for getting an acting job about herself worth will only destroy her happiness. She is valuable whether she gets the job or not. I think that’s what the play is about. I am still evolving the material and learning from audiences.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising I hope is a good way.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Historically theatre has brought about change in society and continues to do so. Theatre for me is about a collective shared experience. A live coming together of people willing to suspend believe and engage in a theatrically journey . When you share or engage imaginatively in this journey you open yourself up to realization. What is that realization? Depends on the story, but for me the theatre I love reveals the dynamic nature and potential of the human being . It’s never a character's dilemma that interests me but what they are doing about their dilemma that gives a powerful insight into or fello man and often ourselves. In the news we only hear about it. On the television we watch it on a screen, in the theatre we experience it live and collectively. That in itself changes a person. As for society, a changed person may only be a fraction of society but it is fractions that make a whole.