Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Spotlight On...Melissa Moschitto

Name: Melissa Moschitto

Hometown: Natick, MA

Education: B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Favorite Credits: Directing Apprentice for Compania Atalaya’s production of Medea in Spain.

Why theater?: I love the possibility that comes with live theatre - creating new worlds, mixing genres and time zones, attempting the impossible. And I find that I am more and more appreciative of the live audience. I’m a terrible audience member when I’m at home watching the TV or a movie - I’m always multi-tasking on my phone. But in the theatre I’m fully invested, immersed and present and as that experience becomes rarer and rarer, I’m ever more appreciative of the medium.  I am also addicted to the collaborative nature of theatre-making.  As much as I sometimes fantasize about being a writer or a painter, an artist who can be solitarily creative, it just isn’t in the cards for me.  I thrive on many ideas and voices in the room.

Tell us about No Man’s Land: No Man’s Land is inspired by the true story of Jeremiah Heaton, a Virginian man who claimed a piece of desert between Egypt and Sudan in order to make his daughter a princess. It’s a critique of the aspects of American culture that made that audacious act possible, an artist’s rage against the machine. But funny.  It takes a story that has certain assumptions and unpacks them, and in doing so, it requires that the artists unpack their own preferences, biases and the kind of artists that they are.

What inspired you to write and direct No Man’s Land?: When I first heard the story, it was 2014 and I was at home with a newborn and an almost two year old. I was afraid that I’d never do theatre again. And I found myself both bizarrely jealous of Jeremiah Heaton for doing this crazy and “impossible” thing and also adamantly against the culture that created this moment, declaring that my own two daughters would never be taken in by Princess culture, that I wouldn’t become that kind of parent. Of course, flash forward two years and despite my best efforts my girls are completely obsessed with fairy tales.  The show became an investigation of what it means to be an artist that responds to the world - what are our responsibilities and where do we get our permission?  How do the stories we tell pave the way for dreams to come true?

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love theatre that has its roots in movement and physical storytelling, theatre that transports me to a world I don’t know or helps me see the world through new eyes.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:  I’d really love to observe British director Melly Still and choreographer Doug Varone.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The last show I recommended was Locusts Have No King at INTAR (sorry, it closed in May!).  In addition to a gripping storyline, there was some great good old fashioned stage magic which made it really exciting to watch!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: "The Longest To Do List" starring Sandra Bullock.  (Well, you caught me two weeks out from our performance!!)

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I love this question!  I always regretted missing Medea starring Fiona Shaw.  And more recently, the Deaf West production of Spring Awakening.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Facebook (winces).

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Trying to be a writer and probably missing theater.

What’s up next?: Catching up on live theatre!  There’s probably some adage about how working artists don’t have time to see art. Add a couple of toddlers into the mix and it’s not always easy to get to a show.  But I’m hoping to fill my summer with all kinds of art!