Friday, October 18, 2013

Spotlight On...Diana Beshara

Name: Diana Beshara

Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL

Education: BA in Theater from Northwestern University

Select Credits: Cowboy Mouth (One Old Crow), Love Letter You've Been Meaning To Write New York (3LD), The Bacchae (NU)

Why theater?: You know that electricity that finds a way to magically jump from heartbeat to heartbeat, suddenly and undeniably uniting an entire room of people that may have nothing more in common than being a human being currently breathing? For that. In no other space have I so viscerally felt magic happen. And had hope for the future. It's such an old and important ritual, to us as a species, watching and sharing as someone tells a story. There's power in that.

Tell us about David’s RedHaired Death: David's RedHaired Death is the beautiful, complicated story of two redheads who find they have everything in common until the death of a brother drives them apart. The redhaired mythology that empowers and glorifies these women leads them into a big love they can't safely get back out of. It's a story about the heaviness of the things we carry. Our version incorporates aerial silks, 3 walls of immersive projections and video that encompasses the audience, and a food and drink menu in collaboration with the restaurant Cantina Royal. Plus, the ticket includes a beer!

What made you want to produce Davi'd RedHaired Death:
A friend, who is now co-producing the show, Elizabeth Simmons, was the one who brought the show to me. At first, it seemed like a logical next step from my company's first production, a site specific version of Sam Shepard's Cowboy Mouth in an apartment in the Lower East Side. That was a two person show, this is a two person show plus some silent presences. That was a one act, this is a full length. Neither seem so concerned with things like plot, on the surface, and leave a lot of open space for interpretation, which I love in a piece. Slowly but surely getting a little bigger, you know? When you are a small new company that has no idea where the money will come from next, these are viable concerns. Plus the language is so beautiful and poetic, I just wanted to chew on it. We started talking logistics, and it just was rolling right along. But then. Then, my father died. And her aunt died. Within four days of each other. This is a show about grief and loss. It seemed too hot to even think about, so  the project went on hold, and I went into mourning. But the more and more I held, the more and more I told myself I couldn't possibly do this show, the more and more obsessed I became with it. I really believe that things come into your life for a reason. "There are no coincidences," as Jean says in the play, and this show needed me to deal with it right at this time.  So, it actually has a beautiful and tragic symmetry to it. My father is the person who inspired me to believe that I could even do something as crazy as make my own work. I never would have started a company if he hadn't given me the idea and pushed me to make it a reality. The last thing he would have wanted is for me to stop doing what I love because of him. So in the end, I'm doing this show for him, in his honor. And I just hope I can do a little bit of justice to all the faith he had in me.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
I like theater that surprises you. I like not knowing what to expect, but then when you see it, it feels inevitable, like it couldn't have been any other way. But really, anything true speaks to me and touches me. I'm laughably sensitive, and could go "American Beauty" crazy over a plastic bag, if it feels true. I can't tell you how many beautiful moments that bring me to tears in commute. I love being in New York. This city inspires me!

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Queen Margaret in the first Tetralogy (the entire cycle, all in a row, if possible), and Vanda in Venus in Furs

What’s your favorite showtune?: I don't listen to them so often, but the other day I randomly came across Sondheim's "Being Alive on an old iPod that I thought was broken but came back to life. It gave me chills.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
I have the biggest crush on Julie Taymor. I think she would be at the top of my list. But really so many people. I just want to work with everyone. Working on something is my favorite part, I always want to be working on something.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I feel like Lizzie Kaplan would get me. I have no idea what it would be called, and I hate these questions. I thought briefly of asking my friends, but I'm a little afraid of what they might come up with!

What show have you recommended to your friends?: It's not playing anymore, but I told everyone I know to go see Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die at LCT3 this summer. It was so honest and vulnerable, and I felt honored to have seen and shared with her that experience.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Philly Cheesesteaks. Everyone is always so grossed out, but whenever I pass a Papaya Dog, or Gray's Papaya, I have an (almost) uncontrollable urge to eat one.

What’s up next?: Well, we've got David's RedHaired Death running until Nov 10th at LA SALA @ Cantina Royal in Williamsburg. And after that, I have this idea for a solo performance based on this memoir I found about this 19 year old Midwestern girl that self published her journal and basically manifested her own fabulous (and then sad) destiny that I really want to focus on developing. That will be a really new direction for me, and I'm excited!