Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Spotlight On...Cailin Heffernan

Names: CailĂ­n Heffernan

Hometowns: Galveston, Texas; NYC

Education: O’Connell College Preparatory School, Texas Christian University (Ballet Performance B.A., minors in Theatre and Literature - just short of a minor in World History) HB, T. Schreiber went back to the New American Theatre School and HB for directing, following up with 5 years at the Writers/Directors Unit at Actors Studio

Favorite Credits: Venus Observed and The Real Thing with Boomerang; my adaptation of All for Love with Boomerang, Monte Cristo at Urban Stages with New Light Theatre Project; all my Shakespeares - Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Cymbeline and this past winter’s archival filming of Rose Leiman Goldemberg’s Letters Home with Kathleen Chalfant and Rachel Botchan at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium.  I am also proud of three O’Neill’s, a Williams and a Miller - my American canon.

Why theater?: It’s where I can do everything - dance, act, move, speak, sing, create worlds - sometimes using unusual devices such as contemporary Kabuki, Delsarte, Dalcroze, live foley, instrumentation, mime….  I am constantly thinking “what next?” and ponder who and what can I create then.

Tell us about Loveless Texas: It’s a story, at its heart, of two brothers who are driven apart.  They each express their dissatisfaction with life in two ways - one through repression, manipulation and cold control; the second through unedited hedonism, desperate running away and then terrified capitulation.  Only after they heal themselves and their bond, can they free themselves up for love, friendship and communal solidarity.

What inspired you to write and perform in it: I was intrigued as Love’s Labour’s Lost is an unresolved play and felt I could use some of the ideas contained in it as a springboard.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I attend a lot of world events - Taiko Drums, Greek Dance and Theatre, Kabuki, Music Concerts, National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre Live presentations… a peek into how the world views itself.  I am obsessed with culture, communication and story telling.  I am inspired by clarity, insightfulness, inventiveness and beauty as well as Phyllida Lloyd, Joss Whedon, Marianne Elliot, Trevor Nunn, Julie Taymor, Enda Walsh, Graciela Daniele, Tom Stoppard, Suzan Lori-Parks, Jez Butterworth and Lynn Nottage.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Oh, so many brilliant actors…. I’d love the chance to work with Frank Dillane, James Callis, Mark Rylance, John Glover, Victor Garber, Francois Arnaud, Mary Louise Parker, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Samira Wiley, Priyanka Chopra and the singer Kostas Martakis, oh and Trevor Noah and Christian Camargo - that’s just a beginning.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: That would be plural… The Great Comet was amazing.  Wolf Hall - parts 1 and 2.  Black Watch from the National Theatre of Scotland.   Kneehigh’s 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips.  War Horse.  And a small play from Smock Alley in Dublin called The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle by Ross Dungin.  I also highly recommended Trevor Nunn’s all-American cast of Pericles at Theatre for A New Audience a season or two ago with the remarkable Christian Camargo.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Now that’s a perverse thought.  I think I would refuse any participation in such a doomed project.  :  )  But I’d like to have Canadian actor Steve Bacic play me.  I’d carry a lot more gravitas and brawn that way.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I am so happy that I did not miss Coram Boy by Helen Edmundson.  I am bereft that I missed Nicholas Nickleby with Roger Rees and John Lynch.  Also, the original Miss Saigon and the original Pacific Overtures.  But I have seen so much of the remarkable that I can’t kick.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Ah, the television I watch - I do no art on television…. it’s all zombies, dragons, vampires, witches and monsters.  I have also watched Supernatural since its first season.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?:  Writing more, I am at heart a story teller and love to live in my head.

What’s up next?: I am directing the next developmental step in a gorgeous 4-hander by the talented Traci Godfrey called Sweet Texas Reckoning in December.  I directed an industry presentation last December with Robert Cuccioli, Rita Gardner, Michelle Hurd and Carolyn McCormick.  It was a blast.  Then I am down for a couple of months of dedicated writing and traveling before directing again.  It’s a good life.