Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sitting down with Sarah Gazdowicz

OHA's Director of Engagement and Development, Amy Kyzer, sat down with Mr. Burns, a post-electric play director Sarah Gazdowicz to talk about the show. Here's what Sarah had to say:

What specifically about this script and this season of Opera House Arts Main Stage productions were you drawn too?

'Mr. Burns' is an undeniable challenge. There are so many moving parts to it logistically and the play's rich content is not easily mined on a first...or second...or third pass.  To be frank, I found the play more than a little frightening, but I also found it incredibly fascinating.  Why turn down opportunity to push yourself and grow as an artist? 

What is the connection from your piece to our island and situations that affect us on a larger scale?

An important element of 'Mr. Burns' is how groups or communities of people evolve and persevere through the passage of time.  The island, and the Opera House itself, is a place and a community that has grown and changed a great deal even in only the last few decades.  The recognition of history along with the need for change is a balancing act that people from or who have had a long relationship with this island must understand very well.

What was your preparation leading up to auditions and now entering rehearsals?

Read the play. Consider what elements are necessary to fully illuminate it's story and characters. Ask questions. Talk to designers and collaborators about the play. Read the play again. Research. Ask more questions. Read the play...

What outside sources are you utilizing as research to assist you in your creative process?

I have done some research on 'doomsday scenarios' especially those pertaining to pandemics and the effects and circumstances of nuclear meltdown. I watched a lot of pop music videos, refreshed myself on some Simpsons' episodes including the 'Cape Feare' episode and watched films such as Martin Scorsese's remake of 'Cape Fear'. I listened to a lot of Gilbert and Sullivan. I was particularly inspired by a wonderful novel called "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.

Will our audiences have had to read the script to understand the play?

I think the cast and crew of 'Mr. Burns' would agree with me when I say that the play is better understood when it is seen rather than read, so much is dependent upon what a production chooses to build with the text.  I will say, however, that in either format, the play really requires you to listen and come in with an open mind. You will walk away with a lot of questions but, isn't that part of what art is supposed to do?

Get your tickets to Mr. Burns today!