Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Spotlight On...Phoebe Brooks
Hometown: Yonkers NY
Education: Northwestern University, BA in Theater and English Literature
Favorite Credits: As a director, Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw for SWP, David Mamet’s Romance and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.
Why theater?: I am desperately curious about the world and theater allows me to be a dilettante in a useful way, requiring me to become a student of everything.
Tell us about The Country Wife: William Wycherley’s The Country Wife is sort of the ultimate English Restoration comedy. It’s full of archetypal characters and classic comedic situations surrounding the sexual conquests of our rakish hero. We’ve updated the play in order to explore the interplay between gender and sexuality. Wycherley was lampooning his society’s preoccupation with the appearance of morality. Our production goes a step further by examining our societal obsession with the performance of gender.
What inspired you to direct The Country Wife?: This play explores all the different ways that we wear “masks” and hide our true nature from everyone but our lovers. I felt as though this was a perfect opportunity to address the quotidian masks that we all wear, in particular how the traditional performance of “masculinity” or “femininity” might feel like a socially mandated disguise for a genderqueer person. I’m thrilled tell the story of a gender non-conforming romantic hero through this cheeky and deceptively frivolous sex farce.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like thoughtful and intricately crafted theater, shows where I feel as though someone has subtly and respectfully curated my experience. Everything that Emma Rice & Kneehigh Theatre does, Hofesh Shechter’s choreography, and Thaddeus Phillips and Wilhelm Bros. & Co.’s Red-Eye to Havre de Grace all lit me afire.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Bill Irwin.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Coping by Jacob Marx Rice, catch it at the Soho Playhouse as part of the Fringe Encores Series.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Janeane Garofalo would play me in "Anachronism Now"!
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Perhaps I’d swing by the premiere of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals in 1775.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Amazon’s "Mozart in the Jungle".
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A Costumed Interpreter at a Living History Museum.
What’s up next?: Spicy Witch Productions upcoming Spring Season will pair Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy with a modern horror adaptation written by our second writer-in-residence, Annette Storckman. Also, I’m directing a tribute to Shunk-Kender’s Pier 18 (currently on display at MoMA) with Drawing Room, a Brooklyn-based Arts Collective.
For more on Phoebe, visit www.phoebebrooks.com. For more on Spicy Witch Productions, visit www.spicywitchproductions.com