Q&A INTERVIEWS WITH THE ARTISTS
Sharon E. Cooper, playwright: "When I was sixteen, living in Chesterfield, Virginia, my mom handed me an ad from a local paper. It was an audition notice for “New Voices for the Theatre” program. This program, which was then at TheatreVirginia and is now at the School of the Performing Arts in Richmond, Virginia, produces staged readings of high school work in the summer. I auditioned and ended up getting a few parts. That summer, I thought, this is fun but the writers at this thing get to live on a college campus for several weeks and work with theatre professionals? As soon as the program ended, I had this idea for a play. The voice of the main character started to come to me in a monologue. For nine consecutive nights, I wrote my first full-length play called For Camille. I was fearless at the time and didn’t know enough to have any doubting voice in my head. Writing dialogue felt easy. The more I just listened, the more the characters revealed what would happen. When I wrote the play, I had only seen a dozen plays in my life. When the play was one of five in the state of Virginia chosen for the program, I was thrilled. I had no idea, though, that this couple of weeks of professional guidance and being immersed in the world of theatre would be the start of a long playwriting path. Here I am exactly twenty years later and this summer, a few days after Sharon’s Shorts closes, I’m heading to Richmond to be the Playwright in Residence at the New Voices program and mentor high school students to rewrite their plays and help them prepare for their own staged reading."
A MAN'S WORLD
Melissa Crespo, Director: "I most enjoy collaborating with playwrights on new work. I love being a part of the development process and serving the playwright in the rehearsal room."
Patrice Miller, Director: "The short answer is probably "experimental", but I don't think any of us can say what that means, just what it doesn't mean (Annie, Spider-Man, and Mamet). Genre is for wusses. The work I love to do often plays with structure, form, and/or language. Most of it is inspired by or deals directly with history, especially 20th century history, and almost all of it involves some kind of multi-disciplinary collaboration.
I'm interested in narratives that come to us through a certain construction or set of ideas or do not come to us at all, and in finding unique forms with which to give life to those narratives. "
NOTHING'S GOING TO HAPPEN
Justin Cornell, Writer/Director/Co-Producer: "When I was a junior at Ramapo College, I needed a job. My roommate told me that the school's scene shop was hiring, so I talked to the TD, and surprisingly, he gave me the job, despite my lack of experience.
Before that, I had acted some in high school, but for several years before I got this job, I had thought of theatre as a childish thing to be put away.
But I immediately loved building sets, and being the tech staff for school events. Working backstage felt more real to me than performing ever had. Before long, I was blowing off my history classes to work shop hours, and by the end of the semester, I made the thoroughly impractical decision to change my major to theatre. I knew there was nothing else I would ever want to do with my life.
I never really found a specialty: I've built sets, designed & hung lights, and since finishing school I've mostly worked as a stage manager. But really, I want to do absolutely everything. So I started to create my own theatre. To me, nothing else can match the fleeting beauty and sense of surprise of a live performance."
TELL THEM NOTHING
Julianna Rusakiewicz, Director, Producer: "I mostly work on devised theater. I enjoy taking material and piecing it together to create something new and exciting. I'm most fascinated by true crime stories and history. "
Barry Rowell, playwright and co-director: "I hope not! I'm trying to expand my boundaries as much as possible: on this piece, I've been trying to find ways to tell the story visually—with action and movement—as well as aurally, and to use music to tell the story (or to ask Howard Fishman, our composer, to help me tell it with music). I think any kind of theater can be compelling and exciting if the artists have something that's important for them to communicate: a few years ago, I saw a big, expensive production of "The Tempest" that stunk to high heaven and then saw David Herskovitz' production that was beautiful—same play but David's production had a passion that the other one sorely lacked."
THE EYE WHICH WE DO NOT HAVE
Kate Brehm, Director: "I work in the field of puppetry because i'm excited about making a visual theater that tells stories with rhythm and forms instead of words. The way an object crosses a stage in straight lines or with an erratic tempo conveys information to an audience. And it makes you feel a particular way. I work with objects, scenery, and puppets because the inanimate has an uncanny ability to connect to us deeply."
Abby Rosebrock, Playwright, Actor: "I was born in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in the nearby town of Summerville, where I also went to school for most of my life. I graduated from a public boarding school for the arts in Greenville, South Carolina and got a BA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University in Manhattan. I've also completed most of a doctoral program in English Lit at Columbia. But Summerville and Greenville, more than any other places, inform my writing and acting. "
THE REMEMBRANCE PROJECT: DARFUR DEDICATION
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Writer/Director: "The theater that I enjoy working on the most is theater that says something about the world; something that is political and has social relevance today. I love theater that affirms the power of the human spirit to overcome and succeed despite odds that seem impossible. "
Stephanie Lane, Playwright, performer, choreographer, producer: "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. "
Q&A INTERVIEWS - UPCOMING SHOWS
A MAN'S WORLD: Melissa Crespo (begins May 20, 2013)
ANTIGONE: Lenny Leibowitz (begins May 22, 2013)
ATTEMPTS ON HER LIFE: Scott Kesselman (begins May 29, 2013)
BIRDS ON A WIRE: Jordan Feltner (begins Jun 13, 2013)
BIRTHRIGHT: David Lawson (begins May 31, 2013)
BOOTSTRAPS: Artem Yatsunov (begins Jun 13, 2013)
BOTALLACK O'CLOCK: Eddie Elks (begins May 21, 2013)
BRILLIANT TRACES: Mary Catherine Wilson (begins Jun 7, 2013)
BUREAU OF MISSING PERSONS: Lila Rose Kaplan (begins Jun 14, 2013)
CATCH THE SPIDER: Joe Raik (begins May 30, 2013)
DOS MUJERES: Desi Moreno-Penson (begins May 24, 2013)
DRAGON: Jenny Connell Davis (begins May 29, 2013)
ELE↓↑TOR: Patrice Miller (begins Jun 8, 2013)
EVOLUTIONARY TALES: A HIP-HOP THEATRE CYCLE: Baba Brinkman (begins May 31, 2013)
FAREWELL TO SANITY AND OTHER IRRATIONAL CONSTRUCTS: Tom Slot (begins Jun 1, 2013)
FIX NUMBER SIX: Jerry Polner (begins May 29, 2013)
GHOST ON A STICK: Jara Jones (begins Jun 8, 2013)
HAMLET (WHAT DREAMS MAY CO.): Nicole Schalmo (begins May 24, 2013)
HIT AND MATCH: Michael Hagins (begins Jun 7, 2013)
HOW TO DO A ONE PERSON SHOW: Kelly Kinsella (begins May 23, 2013)
I AM MY OWN WIFE: Jen Forcino (begins May 23, 2013)
IN MEMORY: Amanda Peters (begins May 22, 2013)
IN SCENA! ITALIAN THEATER FESTIVAL NY: Laura Caparrotti (begins Jun 10, 2013)
KILL THE MESSENGER: Andrew Greer (begins May 25, 2013)
LAST LAUGH: Eric Lockley (begins May 29, 2013)
LIGHTHOUSE TRIPTYCH: Stephanie Lane (begins Jun 8, 2013)
MANNA-HATA: Barry Rowell (begins Jun 7, 2013)
MARCELLUS SHALE: Paul Zimet (begins May 24, 2013)
MARINA / MATA HARI: Ivette Dumeng (begins Jun 15, 2013)
MERCY KILLERS: Michael Milligan (begins May 23, 2013)
MOMMALOGUES: Sharon Lee Glassman (begins May 22, 2013)
MRS. MAYFIELD'S FIFTH-GRADE CLASS OF '93 20-YEAR REUNION: Leta Tremblay (begins May 31, 2013)
MRS. MAYFIELD'S FIFTH-GRADE CLASS OF '93 20-YEAR REUNION: Mariah MacCarthy (begins May 31, 2013)
NAKED DARROW: Gary Anderson (begins Jun 5, 2013)
NOT WITHOUT MY GALL BLADDER: Sean Daniels and Eric Mercado (begins May 29, 2013)
NOTHING'S GOING TO HAPPEN: Justin Cornell (begins May 29, 2013)
OCCUPATION: Joe Jung (begins Jun 6, 2013)
PETER/WENDY: Jeremy Bloom (begins May 30, 2013)
RAGS: Anna Kirkland (begins May 29, 2013)
SHARON'S SHORTS: Sharon E. Cooper (begins Jun 1, 2013)
SON OF A HUTCH: Joe Hutcheson (begins May 22, 2013)
STRAIGHT FACED LIES: Mark Jason Williams (begins Jun 2, 2013)
SUBJECT 62: Lenny Schwartz (begins Jun 14, 2013)
TAPE: Vasile Flutur (begins May 24, 2013)
TELL THEM NOTHING: Julianna Rusakiewicz (begins May 23, 2013)
TESLA: James Lee Taylor (begins May 23, 2013)
THE BLONDE BOMBSHELL PROJECT: Jen Danby (begins Jun 1, 2013)
THE EYE WHICH WE DO NOT HAVE: Kate Brehm (begins May 24, 2013)
THE F**KING WORLD ACCORDING TO MOLLY: Molly Equality Dykeman (begins May 25, 2013)
THE GIRL WHO FORGOT TO SING BADLY: Louis Lovett, Actor and Joint Artistic Director Director of Theatre Lovett (begins May 31, 2013)
THE GOLDEN YEAR: Daniel Damiano (begins Jun 6, 2013)
THE GREATEST PIRATE STORY (N)EVER TOLD!: Christopher Leidenfrost (begins Jun 10, 2013)
THE HOLY COWS OF CREDENCE, SOUTH DAKOTA: A NEW MOO-SICAL: The Holy Cows Team (begins Jun 2, 2013)
THE LAST CYCLIST : Edward Einhorn (begins May 25, 2013)
THE REMEMBRANCE PROJECT: DARFUR DEDICATION: Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj (begins May 20, 2013)
THE TROUBADOUR STRUCK BY LIGHTNING: Ed Malin (begins May 25, 2013)
THE WORLD IS MY HOME: THE LIFE & TIMES OF PAUL ROBESON: Stogie Kenyatta (begins May 24, 2013)
THERE’S A LIGHT ON YONDER MOUNTAIN : Kate MacCluggage (begins May 23, 2013)
UNBIRTH: Charles Gershman (begins Jun 4, 2013)
UNSCRIPTED NEW YORK IMPROVISED THEATRE FESTIVAL : Dion Flynn (begins May 29, 2013)
VELVET ROPE: Celestine Rae (begins Jun 12, 2013)
VULTURE-WALLY: Jillian Sweeney and Jeffrey Cranor (begins May 31, 2013)
WALDEN: Katherine Brann Fredricks (begins May 29, 2013)
WHAT DO YOU MEAN: Bruce A! Kraemer (begins Jun 15, 2013)
WHITE NOISE: Tom Block (begins Jun 27, 2013)
WIGGERLOVER [WHITEBOY+BLACKDAD=GREYAREAS]: James Anthony Zoccoli (aka JAZ) (begins May 29, 2013)