BWW Interview: DIRECTOR CARLY WEISER
Buffalo's Curtain Up! is coming and I had a chance to chat a bit with a very busy Carly Weiser.
Ms Weiser is a director, stage manager, writer, poet and nothing seems to stop her from her artistic passions.
MCL: This year you are a part of Buffalo's Curtain Up! Please tell us what Curtain Up! is to you?
CW: Curtain Up! is the "Opening Ceremonies" of Buffalo Theater. Curtain Up! is split into three parts: Act 1: Gala Dinner, Act 2: Live Theater, Act 3: Street party. It's an opportunity for both audiences and those working in the theater community to get pumped up for the upcoming season of theater. It's also an opportunity to get dressy, over socialize and drink in the street (which to me is one of its greatest selling points).
MCL: You've been involved in other Curtain Up! productions. Please tell us about those experiences.
CW: This is my 5th year in a row working a Curtain Up! show. The past 4 years I have been in the role of Stage Manager for Alleyway Theatre. This year I'm taking on a new role as director for Buffalo United Artists, a company I have also stage managed for the last 4 years. Each Curtain Up! experience has been incredibly demanding, challenging and ultimately rewarding.
MCL: Now it's Curtain Up! 2019. Please talk about the Play you're doing.
CW: BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS is a recent off-Broadway comedy hit. This one man show is told by Gerry (James Cichocki), who is attending the marriage of two of his friends, Josh and Brennan, in Palm Springs. However, the night before "I do" turns into a drunken, drug-fueled bender after Gerry laments on one stipulation on the wedding invitation: "Please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns."
MCL: How would you describe your directing style?
CW: I attempt to be authentic and honest in everything I do, so I would say I attempt to direct the same way. I don't come in with any predetermined blocking or exact idea of who these characters are- I like to discover that with my actor(s) during rehearsal. I don't do a ton of telling, but rather ask a lot of questions. My job as director is to get the actors thinking about the situations, the stakes and their responses. In general, I do have a habit to lean towards the immersive, which I had to suppress to meet the needs of this show.
MCL: Did you have any involvement in the writing of it?
CW: Heck no- I am not the writer in my partnership. This script was chosen because it was well written. Our job is to make the words mean something.
MCL: This is a one man show. How do you approach this type of show?
CW: As a director, my job doesn't change as far as the basics. I am still looking for intention, conflict, character arc and why this person is doing/saying what they're doing. Where it becomes challenging is finding ways to keep the staging interesting and the story engaging, when the entire show takes place in one location, in real time with one body on stage. I think we're overcoming our challenges.
MCL: Please tell us about the actor that's performing the one man show.
CW: James Cichocki is one of my best friends and working with your closest friends can honestly be terrifying. You have to find that balance between work and fun to make sure your expectations as a director aren't taken lightly. But I know James, and I know how much this show means to him, and I know how he works. Knowing that, having that bond, has actually helped us to really excel in this process. This show, this character, this role was made for him.
MCL: How about some information on the venue?
CW: The Alleyway Cabaret (on Main Street next to Shea's Buffalo) is where I started my career with BUA. It's a 68 seat theater which makes for a very intimate space. This show is a natural fit for it.
MCL: What can the audience expect to feel (and what do you want them to feel) after the performance is over?
CW: I hope people laugh LOL. I hope it fosters discussion. But I'll take everything and anything. I don't think it's right for me to tell the audience how to feel- come see and have that catharsis yourself. Even if you dislike it (which as much as I hope you don't, I realize it happens) that is still a response. It's the job of live theater to make you feel something.
MCL: Time to promote ... What is your year like for the remainder of 2019?
CW: I am stage managing my 5th year of A CHRISTMAS CAROL for Alleyway in December and for now, that's all. I have been working 7-10 shows a year and I need to take some time for myself. My partner Justin and I have a ton of ideas we want to flesh out, so maybe look for a new event from CARLY & KARCHER in 2020. Also follow me on @cult_carly on Instagram for all of my Disney travels across the world. I look forward to being an audience member as well- I want to see what everyone is up to!
FOR MORE ABOUT CARLY WEISER AND BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS:
BUA & more about the show