Friday, May 30, 2014

Spotlight On...Nicola McEldowney

Name: Nicola McEldowney

Hometown: Riverdale, NY

Education: Columbia University (B.A., French) and the Universite Sorbonne-Nouvelle in Paris (M1 - French masters program - in theatre studies).

Favorite Credits: As an actress: Estelle in No Exit, Queen Marguerite in Exit the King, Melody Elbow in my own musical Aisle Six (produced last year at FringeNYC)  As a director: Seussical, featuring one of the best casts I've ever seen, every single actor under age 11.

Why theater?: Working the crowd.

Tell us about White Space: White Space is a play by my friend, playwright  Brett Ackerman. It's a funny but dark and tense play about comic book characters trapped in their panels.

What inspired you to direct White Space?:
I got asked. As a director, I find that to be excellent inspiration. :-)

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
Theater that's  character-centric, driven by strong emotions and ideally  also funny. Anything that has a sense of humor about itself speaks to me. Inspiration might be anything from a visit to the Cloisters to a good comic book (I'm thinking here of the works of HergĂ© and Tove Jansson) to a piece of music so good it punches you in the stomach, in the best possible sense. I recently wrote a screenplay inspired by the first movement of Poulenc's piano concerto. The final product has very little to do with the concerto. It was just the spark. 

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Wes Anderson. I came late to his films, having fallen hard for "Moonrise Kingdom" two years ago.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I've been rehearsing for multiple shows these past months so haven't gotten to as much theatre as I would like. My current recommending energies are all channeled into getting people to come to the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, where I'm in one play (Slam Team by Gina Inzunza) and directing another (Barber from Outer Space, which I co-authored with Rachel Gambiza).

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Audrey Tautou - I will accept no substitutes -   and the movie would be called "Heart of Snarkness" (French: "Coeur de Snarkness"), a nod to my blog, The Snark Ascending.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I live in Riverdale, home of multiple excellent Jewish bakeries, so porn. Uh - I mean cookies.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: Apparently a Danish folksong arrangement by Percy Grainger.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Wealthier but disgruntled.

What’s up next?: A show I wrote is coming to a wonderful venue, The Tank, in the fall. More on that as it develops!

For more on Nicola, visit