Monday, September 18, 2006

The Interview

It was a very visual night last night at rehearsal, and a great day for the cast and its major strides made.

I did the dramaturgical task of interviewing Tuttle..... it was pretty interesting to be on the Q side of a Q&A and transcribing the talk.

Click on the links to view. The text is included below each link. Pump up your computer volume - it's audible at full volume.
Segment 1: Writing Origins
JL: So let’s talk about your background, where you came from, what got you started in theatre, what got you started in writing. I know that you started young, right?
BT: I started young in the usual sort of theatre ways. As far as taking writing a little more seriously, I first started writing in my freshman year of high school. I was sent to my room and I didn’t have any cool things to play with so I wrote a rip-off of The Giving Tree and read it to my parents and they cried and I was ungrounded, and that got me writing. And taking it seriously my senior year of high school, I fell in love with a girl, didn’t really know how to talk to her. Her parents didn’t really like me so I didn’t really have an opportunity to talk with her. So I wrote her a play. And that ended up getting performed, and won a small award or whatever and that kind of got me hooked.
Segment 2: On Directing
JL: What made you gravitate towards directing?
BT: That was a very natural sort of gravitional pull there. When you tell a story, you want to be able to tell every aspect of it…
JL: Right.
BT: … so directing was a very natural fit. There’s definitely evolution. I always sort of have a natural sense of being in charge (laughter) which isn’t what it’s about at all, but um, I evolved into sort of trusting more, the more I got to direct. The concept of the atmosphere and the world sort of coming in the last couple of years, an understanding of helping everyone get into a kind of place and my job being to set that tone of that world and then letting the actors play. That sort of directing concept naturally evolved out of directing and directing and realizing, you know, that actors weren’t your puppets.
JL: This is like the least amount of direction I’ve ever seen you give.
BT: It’s been less and less and here we are sort of a week before the show and a couple of days ago it was very nightmarish, it was "Oh God" and I didn’t do too much expect put more trust into the situation and it seems really to be paying off. The more you let them find truth, that’s all we’re trying to get at. And as long as I can set actors up for realizing truth s is what matters and I’m setting up the world around them to exist and to be truthful and it’s going to go great places. We watched this huge rehearsal today and it was phenomenal, all the stuff they were doing, and I didn’t tell them where to go, not out of laziness but there it was.
Segment 3: The Current Season of Magic
JL: I always thought you were very aggressive (laughter) when it comes to starting a theatre company and you have a five-play season ahead.
BT: Yep.
JL: It’s exciting. Magic Happens is the theme. Do you want to talk about how you came up with that? I know it’s a running theme in all your plays.
BT: Yeah, it was a little bit from reading some Gabriella Garcia Marquez (sp?). It was a lot from really understanding what I enjoy and what the company enjoys doing and so, a lot of it has to do with the ordinary but a lot of it has to do with what’s really special about the ordinary in what we see every day. And it just sort of clicked in that all the plays that were coming together, there’s this huge sense of wonderment about simple humanity. And, you know, a guy on a chair. We wanted to take an entire year just to explore what gives you those goosebumps, you know, so that’s what it’s about.
Segment 4: The Current Play
JL: So let’s talk a little bit about The Unnoticed. When I first read it, I was pretty impressed. It reminded me a lot of your earlier work, Under Her Umbrella, with more of an optimistic tone.
BT: Mmm.
JL: Can you talk about why you wrote it, what were you trying to achieve?
BT: I started writing it for a friend, actually. I just wanted to make a friend of mine, who has worked with me, just make her smile. And then it kind of extended into becoming this experience that as I see so many things happen in Boston and where I walk, these amazing things, but nobody blinks when they walk by them. There’s a guy in my neighborhood that a character’s based on, and he’s incredible. And my relationship with him has grown over three years of being in Boston . And finally understanding even what he’s saying to me and it took three years to do that. I’ve felt unnoticed a lot of times and I’m sure everyone does. I always look up at rooms in buildings that I might walk by and there’s lamps that are on and I’m always wondering what’s going on there, and to be able to spend a couple of hours exploring what’s going on in this nook of Boston is what’s exciting.
Segment 5: The Not-Too-Distant Future
JL: So 11:11 has been in existence now for, what, like 6, 7 years?
BT: A lot of years.
JL: And been in Boston now, this is the third, fourth?
BT: Seems like third or fourth.
JL: So what are you looking forward to, like, what’s your big, grand plan?
BT: Jeesh.
BT: I’m looking forward to having a community, like, honestly. That’s why I’m excited about, having a season and being able to afford theaters beforehand, is that people can get excited about what we’re doing and get involved in it and go, "Wow, in this season of Magic Happens, in the spring I can’t wait for this play about Cambridge," and then get some input before, during and after. Not about the product but having the sort of sense of plays being alive, and the company sort of growing with them, and continuing to grow who our community is, and how they get involved. And meeting more bands that we can work with, from a creation standpoint and from an audience standpoint, we feed off of our community. And so it’s sort of like a positive version of a virus (laughter) where we feed off each other and the whole community grows. I can’t wait till we’re even bigger and people are doing season subscriptions.
JL: Is that why you chosen Boston , because of the musical, theatrical, like, it seems to be a hotbed.
BT: Yeah it’s a hotbed. Just the atmosphere. Completely different kinds of people that all exist in one city. A lot of extremes of diversity as far as racial, and economically. It’s this huge, diverse area kind of stuffed into this great place of history. And as far as the United States goes, it’s about as historical as it gets. And I love being in a place with that sense of history but that’s also going somewhere. And it’s cool to be by the ocean too.
BT: So yeah, that’s why Boston .

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