Friday, December 21, 2012

5 Questions with Joe Sutton

The 9th reading in our FORUM "Soundings" series is THE LISTING by Joe Sutton. This reading will begin at 7pm on December 22, 2012, and 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).

Rich has landed a job out of state and the sale of  beloved home reveals a long-simmering rift between him and his wife Nora. Moving backwards in time from the present to the presidential election of 2000, this couple’s life in their house is set against the backdrop of the national events of the past 12 years.

Joe Sutton plays include Voir Dire (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the Best Play Award of the American Theatre Critics Association), As It is in Heaven, The Winner,The Third Army, and Restoring the Sun. Joe co-wrote The Predator’s Ball with Karole Armitage, and saw the piece premiere in Florence, Italy before enjoying a run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Other theatres producing Joe’s plays include New York Theater Workshop, Long Wharf, Arena Stage, the Cleveland Play House, and the Old Globe in San Diego.  After Hurricane Katrina, Joe initiated The Breach, a New Orleans-centered theatre piece co-written with Catherine Filloux and Tarell Alvin McCraney which premiered at New Orleans’ Southern Rep before going on to play at Seattle Rep.  More recently, Joe’s play Complicit opened at London’s Old Vic with Artistic Director Kevin Spacey directing. Joe has also recently been developing a pilot of USA television called Scales of Justice, about an overweight detective in post-Katrina New Orleans. Joe is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them fellowships from NYFA, the NEA, and NJ Arts.  When not in rehearsal, Joe teaches playwriting at Dartmouth College.  There he lives with his wife Anne and their son Nicholas.

1. What inspired your to write THE LISTING?
The immediate inspiration is we sold our house (of ten years) and moved to New Hampshire. So some of the experience of the play (but pray not all the dysfunctionality) resembles our own. In a larger sense, I wanted to write about this moment in our history, our economy, and about the baby boomer generation and the decisions we've made.

2. You have co-written THE PREDATOR'S BALL and THE BREACH. What do you enjoy this type of collaboration? 
They were not quite the same. On THE PREDATOR'S BALL, I was brought into the process rather late. On THE BREACH, I initiated the process. Both were challenging. Theater is by nature a collaborative art form; so one is always in dialogue with other artists. However, adding another layer to that discussion – one that involves other writers for instance – can make an already challenging situation even more challenging. That said, there are projects one must become involved in, no matter what the challenges. These were that type.

3. Your play COMPLICIT opened at London's Old Vic with Artistic Director, Kevin Spacey, directing. Did you work closely with him on the rehearsal process?
Once we got into rehearsal, I was involved in many of the rehearsals. We also had a very lengthy preview period, and I was involved in that as well.

4. What can you tell us about the pilot you are developing for USA television?
Again, it was an interesting process -- but unfortunately the pilot was not picked up. The idea for the show amused me a greal deal. First, it was set in New Orleans -- and I picked that city because I'd grown to love it during the writing and research for THE BREACH. The actual show idea involved a grossly overweight homocide cop who is fired from his job because of weight issues. Or at least that's the pretext for his firing (he also has  big mouth). His respose to the firing is to become a private eye -- but he comes to this idea after he's enrolled in Weight Watchers...and finds himself the only man in a roomful of ladies -- all of who seem to dote on him...and offer themselves to him as his information posse. The character was named Bartholomew Justice...and the show, punning on the weight/Weight Watchers idea, was called SCALES OF JUSTICE.

5. Besides seeing the premiere of THE PREDATOR'S BALL in Florence, what was your favorite thing in this city?
The Pitti Palace. There is a room in this famous museum/gallery where you can stand and see about a half dozen various other rooms. I was stunned by that.

♦ Playwrights Theatre will present these readings free of charge, with an optional donation of $10

♦ A $25 dollar donation will get you a FORUM pass that covers all of the readings.

♦ A $250 donation will get you a rehearsal pass that allows access to all reading rehearsals.

♦ Reservations can be made online at or call (973) 514-1787 X10

Click here to reserve your seat to see THE LISTING.
You can also find additional information on our website about the entire FORUM reading series.

No comments:

Post a Comment