Friday, February 10, 2012

Spotlight On...Evan F. Caccioppoli

Name: Evan F. Caccioppoli

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Education: BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Illinois at Chicago, The Poor School in London, England, and currently a masters degree candidate in Educational Theatre at NYU.

Favorite Credits: Director: Unbroken by Alexandra Wood (Kid Brooklyn Productions, American Premiere); In The Key of You by Diana Stahl; Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead; The Last Five Years; and original devised works Shattered Silence and 8:46:40 (The September 11th Project). Assistant Director to Daniel Talbott on Eightythree Down (Hard Sparks/Under St. Marks) and Much Ado About Nothing (Boomerang Theatre Company/The Secret Theatre), and to Pedro Pascal on Yosemite (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater). Artistic Director and Founder of Kid Brooklyn Productions, an independent theatre production company.

Why theater?: It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I saw my first Broadway show at age four and I never looked back, I knew in that theatre and in that moment I had found where I belonged. There is so much wonder and discovery in what we get to do as theatre artists. I love telling stories on stage and I love that as theatre artists we get to explore what it is to be human. Having the opportunity to dig into both the dark and light sides of humanity. We are so lucky in that we get to step into so many different worlds and live, feel, and breathe as so many different people. I love that we get to break the rules and do/show what is never supposed to be seen. We also get to make what is impossible possible; anything can be done on stage!
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?
: I love theatre that is dangerous, theatre that scares me. The work that hits me in my core and that I want to run away from, that is the work I want to do. As I said I look for the plays that explore the human condition, why we think and feel the way we do and why we as humans make certain choices. So much inspires as a theatre artist. Life in general is a huge inspiration in my work as director/devisor, the experiences I have go into my work. There are so many amazing theatre artists that I admire for the work they create. Daniel Talbott has been a huge inspiration to me, he’s love and passion for the theatre is amazing.  Daniel puts so much into the work he creates as a Director and Playwright and shares that with everyone he works with. Daniel is a genius of the theatre, that is the only way to describe him. He is also one of the best teachers I have had, he gives so much to nurturing new theatre artist. He has become a mentor to me and I learn so much from working with him. I also draw inspiration from the amazing playwrights who’s work I read, whether they are new playwrights or well known. Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to read the work of brilliant playwrights like Crystal Skillman, Diana Stahl, Mariah MacCarthy, Ken Urban, J. Stephen Brantley, among others. They are these amazing voices in the American theatre whose work is fearless and honest. Then there are playwrights whose work I’ve read over the years that I cannot wait to work on Tennessee Williams, Lanford Wilson, Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Stephen Sondheim, Samuel Beckett, Sarah Kane, Bertolt Brecht, Douglas Carter Beane, Donald Margulies, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Federico Garcia Lorca,  Maxim Gorky, Neil Labute, Tracy Letts, Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, Nicky Silver, Paula Vogel, Adam Rapp, Anna Deavere Smith, Arthur Miler, Henrik Ibsen, Rebecca Gilman, Eugene O’Neil, Tony Kushner, Jose Rivera, Kenneth Lonergan, Lucy Thurber, Stephen Adly Guirgus, Eric Bogosian, Michael Weller, David Rabe, Dario Fo, Leslye Headland, Clifford Odets, Richard Greenberg, Alexandra Wood, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Theresa Rebeck, David Lindsay-Abaire, William Inge, and so many others. One of the biggest inspirations to me has been The Steppenwolf Ensemble, The Public Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Rising Phoenix Rep, The Amoralists, and other theatre companies who produce new and classic work and give theatre artists opportunities to explore and create. I’m also inspired by the amazing theatre artists I have had the chance to work with the past few months, artists like the casts and creative teams of Yosemite (Seth, Katie, Noah, Libby, Pedro, Mickey, and Sam who I spent the most time with), Eightythree Down (including my good buddy Brian Miskell), and Much Ado About Nothing (who I’m loving getting to know) who bring so much to everything they do. All the great theatre artists whose work I’ve studied and been awed by over the years and anyone who creates theatre. I’m really inspired by the music of Laura Nyro her music is on every playlist I create for a play I’m going to direct. My friends and family are so much inspiration to me. (That was a lot longer than I thought it was going to be.)

What is different, or similar, about the process of working on new works (like Yosemite) compared to classic texts (Much Ado About Nothing)?: They’re both so exciting and challenging. With a new work it constantly changing, you start with a working script and each day you will discover new things that take the story into different directions. You may begin rehearsal thinking the play is about one thing and discover the play is about something totally different. It’s so exciting to come into rehearsal in the morning and have the playwright bring in new pages. To have the actors and director work with the playwright to create the world of the play, I believe rehearsal is about discovery and with a new play it’s the playwright, director, actors, and everyone involved discovering the world of the play together. With a classic text it’s about discovering a new way to tell the story. That is the great thing about working on classic plays is there are a million different ways to interpret the story. The framework of the story is there we know what’s going to happen and we know that we have to serve the story but within that there is so much room to play and try new things. A character may have a slightly different intention or be interpreted by actor in a different way. What I love so much about Shakespeare is that there are so many places his plays can be taken. With new and classic work we just have to tell the story and find the honest within the characters and their intentions and wants.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
There are so many people I want to work with; I’m going to try to keep this short. Directors I would love to work under are Anna D. Shapiro, Anne Bograt, George C. Wolfe, Sean Graney, Tina Landau, Deborah Warner, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joe Mantello, Sam Mendes, Mike Nichols…the list goes on.  If I could go back in time I would love to work with Bob Fosse and Elia Kazan. There are so many playwrights and actors I really hope I get to work. I would really love to work with The Steppenwolf Ensemble and The Public Theatre. I hope to continue to work with Rattlestick and Rising Phoenix Rep and all the amazing artists I am working with now. I hope to have the chance to direct plays by these amazing playwrights and have to chance to direct these brilliant actors in plays on my own.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Yosemite and then come see Much Ado About Nothing in March!!! Now that I’ve given that shameless plug, sadly I haven’t had the chance to see much lately. I really enjoyed Other Desert Cities when it was Off-Broadway last year. I looking forward to seeing Porgy and Bess on Broadway and Off-Broadway How I Learned to Drive and Carrie (That’s something you have to see even if you hate musicals, come on.). Everyone should check out Rising Phoenix Rep’s Cino Nights, they are a lot of fun and the playwrights, directors, and actors working on them are the best!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Theatre, Food, Designer Jeans, and Laughter.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?:
Dead! No really, probably a Teacher or Social Worker.

What’s up next?:
Much Ado About Nothing opens in March and we are right now in the middle of rehearsal. I’m so excited to be bringing the World Premiere of Crystal Skillman’s beautiful and brilliant play WILD to Chicago this June/July. It’s the second play for my company Kid Brooklyn Productions and the first play I’ve ever commissioned. I can’t wait to be in rehearsal and start to discover it even more.  I have a couple of other pieces that I’m developing with other kick ass playwrights that I can’t wait to dive into further. I would really love to direct a classical play or an American classic since I’ve never done that on my own before. Getting ready to start MFA/Directing applications next fall.