Saturday, February 25, 2017
Spotlight On...Jeff Talbott
Hometown: Kimball, NE
Education: BFA (University of Nebraska), MFA (Yale School of Drama)
Favorite Credits: The Submission (MCC Theater)
Why theater?: Because now, more than ever it seems, we need a place to gather to have a conversation about how we talk to and about each other, and maybe how we make this place we share slightly better, together.
Tell us about The Gravedigger’s Lullaby: It’s a play about a gravedigger. It’s a play about a marriage. It’s a play about a poor man and a rich man trying to find common ground. It’s a play about finding the grace to get up tomorrow and give it all a shot again.
What inspired you to write The Gravedigger’s Lullaby?: I write when I’m trying to figure something out; in this case, I was trying to figure out how to navigate difficult conversations I was continuously failing at trying to talk about the disparity between the people who have a lot in the world and the people who have not enough. And once I started writing that, I realized I was also writing about a family.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like all sorts of theatre; I particularly like to be challenged when I see a play to consider how I feel about what’s happening onstage. I engage actively as an audience member, and try to encourage the same as a writer. I am constantly inspired by other artists, and draw my strength and inspiration from them – particularly my friends who are out there making great and exciting things in the world.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: This list is too big and would break the internet.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: So many – Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 is currently on that list. But there’s a lot of great theatre out there right now. See a play. I mean, like tonight. I mean, like right now.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: A young(er) John Lithgow or Tracy Letts, probably; let’s call it: "So, What Happens Now?"
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: So many . . . oh! I love Ibsen – what about going back and seeing that first production of, say, A Doll’s House or Ghosts? What was that like?
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Trader Joe’s Coconut Cashews; or basically anything from TJ’s. . . while watching "Please Like Me" over and over.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Wondering how I could get a job working in theatre (sad but true).
What’s up next?: The Gravedigger’s Lullaby runs through April 1; currently working on a commission for a new play at Montclair University in NJ. Some other things going on that I can’t share yet, but soon . . . (he’s so mysterious).
For more on Jeff, visit www.jefftalbott.com. For more on The Gravedigger's Lullaby, visit http://tactnyc.org/shows-events/the-gravediggers-lullaby/