Tuesday, December 13, 2011

5 Questions With Suzanne Bradbeer

The 19th reading in our FORUM series is Suzanne Bradbeer's SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS. This reading will be held at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Dreyfuss Theatre, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ. Click here for directions. Click here for a printable map of the campus (the Dreyfuss Theatre is located in Building 9).

Suzanne’s work has been developed and produced at theatres around the country, including Barrington Stage Company, the New Harmony Project, Stamford Center for the Arts, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Lark, and City Theatre of Miami. Current projects include Devil In The Details, God In The Game: an election year drama about the intersection of faith and politics; and Naked Influence, recently workshopped at the Dorset Theatre Festival. Her play Okoboji will shortly be published in a new Smith & Kraus anthology. Suzanne is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Actors Studio P/D Unit, the BMI Workshop, and the Dramatists Guild.

1. What inspired you to write Shakespeare in Vegas?
I was commissioned to write a short play with the theme of ‘theft’ for The Drilling Company in New York City. In thinking about theft, I decided to write about one actor stealing a scene from another and I felt that it should be an actor with a small role stealing a scene from the lead. Cleopatra and her handmaiden seemed like good candidates for this. That short play (FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE NILE) is now the second scene in SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS, and I so loved the characters in that original play that I decided to expand it to a full length.

2. What is your favorite Shakespeare play and why?
I think my favorite Shakespeare play is MACBETH – at least that’s the one that I go back and reread the most often. It’s a great play to learn from – a fast moving story with great stakes; it’s theatrical, exciting, there’s even a little humor, and it has some of the most gorgeous, gorgeous language. That said, I have seen about five different productions of MACBETH and none of them have quite lived up to what I imagine it could be. Someday.

My favorite Shakespeare that I’ve actually seen is probably Fiasco Theater’s CYMBELINE, currently being produced by Theatre for a New Audience. Go see it! It’s magical and surprising, and full of playful energy. Also, there was a fantastic production of TROILUS AND CRESSIDA at the Royal Shakespeare Company that I saw about 20 years ago: it was both desperately sad and side-splittingly funny. I still think about it sometimes.

3. What do you enjoy most about being a playwright?
A good day of writing is satisfying like almost nothing else I’ve ever known.

4. Have you been to Vegas? Did you win big?
I have been to Vegas and I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even gamble. Okay, my friend Cat and I put one penny in a slot machine just as we were leaving. I meant to gamble, I really did! But we were so busy just exploring downtown and the Strip and finding places for cocktails…that we forgot to gamble. One of my favorite parts of Vegas is the Old Sign Graveyard – which is exactly what it sounds like.

Incidentally, Cat and I were in Vegas Easter weekend, which, that year, also happened to be the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. So Easter morning, April 4, we sat in our room at the Trump Hotel (thank you, Priceline) and played and replayed U2’s Pride (In The Name Of Love) and talked about MLK, and God, and loss and hope. It turned out to be an unusual but very moving and memorable way to spend Easter.

5. Do you prefer coffee or tea? Is it part of your creative process?
I PREFER COFFEE!!!! It is definitely part of my creative process. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and that first sip of the day never fails to make me happy. I love coffee so much, I’m going to go have some more right now.

Click here to purchase a ticket to see SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS at FDU.

You can also find additional information on our website about the entire FORUM reading series.

$10 per reading
$25 for a FORUM pass (if you are going to attend at least 3 readings in the series---this is the best deal)

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