Saturday, June 14, 2014

Spotlight On...Beth Gardiner

Name: Beth Gardiner

Hometown: Durham, NC

Education: MFA - UC, Irvine; BA - Wesleyan University

Favorite Credits: The HAMLET Project: Summer in the City (Three Day Hangover); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Fugitive Kind Theatre, Los Angeles); The Jesus Fund (Burning Coal Theatre, Raleigh, NC)

Why theater?: Good stories, well told, matter. The theater is a good place to find them and share them with others. Plus, I'm addicted to the feeling when a story lands and a group of strangers all feel like they know something together at the same time. Making good theater is an ever-evolving challenge - each story, each group of artists, each venue, and each performance require that you learn something new, so working in the theater keeps me on my toes.

Tell us about Twelfth Night or, Sir Toby Belch's Lonely Hearts Club Cabaret?: Sir Toby Belch's Lonely Hearts Club Cabaret is a super immersive production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night that we perform in a bar. Three Day Hangover makes it our business to present classic plays in a way that make them new, unexpected, and super fun for our audiences. In this case, the events of the Twelfth Night unfold in real time in a karaoke bar. The audience is front and center for all the love-y shenanigans of the play. We've got a ROCKIN' karaoke band - Rock Star Karaoke - and characters and audience alike can take the mic during the show and have their moment in the spotlight if they want. Basically, the audience walks into the bar and all of a sudden they're in this special space, where anything might happen (and does), and we rock out with them for a couple of hours.

What inspired you to adapt and direct Twelfth Night or, Sir Toby Belch's Lonely Hearts Club Cabaret?:
Frankly? Dating in New York. It can make you feel like a rock star. It can make you feel like a crazy person. It can make you feel anonymous or like you should armor yourself in a fake identity to get what you want. The characters in Twelfth Night go through the same things. It has always felt like a very contemporary, very New York story to me. Adapting Twelfth Night was my way of celebrating these dances we do in the pursuit of interpersonal connection...and providing a place to laugh at the ways we can all be ridiculous sometimes.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I tend to like theater that's a little scrappy or rough around its edges, where the creators have shown us something raw and honest about the human heart, or brain, or guts. Usually if there's something adventurous done with the language or music I'm excited too. I'm inspired by other storytellers. Get me in the room with someone spinning a good yarn and my brain will light up with ideas. I also rely on travel for inspiration. There's an unspoken imperative to look up and see the world with fresh eyes when you're somewhere new. Theater does the same thing.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: Spike Jonze. I just want to sit around a table and spitball ideas with that guy. His brain seems amazing.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Peter Brook's The Suit, such lovely, evocative storytelling

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I had to survey my friends on this one but several of them agreed that Laura Linney would play me (even though I'm not blond) in "The Constant Gardiner"

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: It's a tie between cheesy sports films and Chili's. I will never say no to those bottomless chips and salsa.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?:
Lately it's stuff from the show, so a lot of Queen – “Somebody to Love”.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Something else ever-changing and sort of impossible....a comfort food chef? A travel writer? A teacher?

What’s up next?: 
I go into hard core development on the third show of Three Day Hangover's season, a super secret mash-up of two Shakespeare plays combined into one event and performed at the bar. It's going to be AWESOME.