Friday, August 14, 2015

Spotlight On...Daniella Caggiano

Name: Daniella Caggiano

Hometown: New York City

Education: I went to Sarah Lawrence College for undergrad and now I'm getting my MFA from The New School

Favorite Credits: Okay, bye. (The New School for Drama); The Tennessee Williams Project (Gene Frankel Theatre); reasons to be pretty (The Secret Theatre); Educational, Career Relevant Summer Jobs are Important for Young Women! (New Perspectives Theatre); novaya zemlya, or a strange, new land (FringeNYC)

Why theater?: Theatre is so alive, unpredictable, and immediate. I find it terrifying and exciting in a very particular way that only live performance can be. I think nothing can replace the impact of experiencing something with others, in the room, in the moment-- it's an exchange of energy and humanity between the performers and the audience that absolutely can't be captured anywhere else. I think it's that humanity, with all its vulnerability and imperfections, that really draws me to theatre over any other art form.

Tell us about Liminal: Liminal is an insightful look at the “foot soldiers of gentrification" which follows the story of Callinda, a young poet fresh out of college. Finding herself suddenly alone in New York City, Callie struggles to find her voice and her place in a world that feels so strange, and yet so much like home. Taunted by a Greek chorus of blue collar workers, she grapples with her role in gentrification, the oppression of homelessness, and a budding romance. Liminal is an honest look at what it takes live in this city, whether you’re a native or a transplant.

What inspired you to direct Liminal?: As a native New Yorker, the subject matter of Liminal is very close to my heart. I love the way this play explores the New York experience from so many different perspectives and subverts the cliche of the young artist finding her place in the big city. This play takes that trope and smacks it with a hard dose of reality-- and the results are both hilarious and unsettling. Beyond that, I also wanted to direct Liminal because it highlights voices that are often underrepresented in the American Theatre. We have an all female writer/director team, a 2/3 female cast and 2/3 characters of color.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I'm very inspired by plays that "go there", pushing the limits of what we can do or talk about in the theatre and facing cultural taboos with fearlessness and candor. I want to be made uncomfortable in the theatre (because discomfort can be transformative!) and I am drawn to direct projects that spark discomfort in others.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I'm going to dream big here and go with MoisĂ©s Kaufman. If I get to work with him at any point in my life, that will be the coolest day ever.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I think all my friends are sick of hearing me talk about it, but I cannot say enough good things about Fun Home. Besides having a friend in it (Hi Emily!), I love Fun Home because it's got so much heart, it's beautifully written by some kickass ladies, and simply put, it is making history. I think we'll look back on Fun Home as a real game-changer.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: My celebrity doppelgänger is Aubrey Plaza, so I think she would play me and the movie would be called "Sorry For What I Said Before I Had My Coffee". I know Aubrey would capture the pre-coffee rage perfectly.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: My mother got to go to the opening night of Sweeney Todd on Broadway in 1979 and I'm jealous every time she talks about it. I would have loved to see such an iconic show when it was first revealed to the world.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I'm all about the weird documentaries on Netflix. The more you know!

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A psychologist. I actually studied both theatre and psychology in undergrad and I think the two are so interrelated. I would specifically want to work with teens, either in a private practice type setting or as a school psychologist.

What’s up next?: In addition to Liminal, I'm directing another piece in the Fringe that you should have on your radar-- a one-woman retelling of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis! It's going to be awesome and the adaptor/performer Misha Bouvion is a powerhouse.

For more on Liminal, visit For more on Daniella, visit