BWW Interview: Director JEFF GOLDBERG On Playing David Coleman Headley On Stage
It's not very often that a story teller takes the responsibility of portraying the story of one of the most hated man in the country.
But director, actor and writer Jeff Goldberg decided to take this brave plunge, as he believed the story needed to be told to the youth to help them understand the toil wrong choices can take in ones' life.
Jeff Goldberg, who has taught and performed at some of the most prestigious theatre school and has also set up an eponymous acting school in Mumbai, researched on his subject for three long years. And he decided to write, act and direct a one-man-show titled David Coleman Headley.
The name of the play is enough to give many Indians goosebumps. The half American, half Pakistani terrorist who planned the 26/11 attacks in India, is notoriously known for his criminal activities and is currently serving jail term.
For Goldberg to tell this story must have required a lot of grit and gumption. The theatre person talks to us everything about the play and why he chose to play that infamous character
BWW: Let's talk about David Coleman. Were you wary that you may be approaching a subject too dark?
No, I was not wary of the topic. In fact, quite the opposite I was attracted to the subject because its real and full of emotion. It posses a real panache of emotions and that is something that any creative person would find fascinating. The real challenge has been how to manage the very serious and sensitive feelings around the topic without being dishonest to the story.
BWW: Why you thought of talking about his story?
I find the personal journey of individuals fascinating. David's life is one such example of someone who made all the wrong choices. I also feel that this is a very important story to tell because of all the pain it caused. I think that the best way for all of us to heal is to look at our collective history in the face. We need to be honest who we were and what we have experienced.
BWW:Were there any apprehensions that some may accuse you may be glamorizing or celebrating a criminals life
I totally understand that people might think that the show glamourisies David's life, but the show very purposefully does not do that. The intention of the show has always been to use David's life as an example of what and how everything can go wrong. David's journey is one away from the light and into darkness. As a Method actor it was very important for me to read, watch, listen and research everything about David Coleman Headely that I could get my hands on. I immersed myself in the character over the years. Apart from the research, I have explored the emotions and impulses that drove him to do what he did and become who he became. I wanted to understand the man and did my best to look at his life as empathetically as possible.
BWW: Tell us about the theatre scene in India
India's theatre scene is booming. We are fortunate to have a variety of languages all bursting at the seams with artists exploring our craft. These are very exciting time to be living and working in India.
BWW: What are the areas you feel Indian stage craft is lacking?
Gosh that's tough... but if I had to point to anything I think that we need more theatres and many more opportunities for new voices to emerge onto the scene. There is so much talent here and we need to give new artists the chance to learn, hone and sharpen their craft.
BWW: What are some of the most promising shows that you saw this year
I am a very big fan of Faezah Jalali's work. She just blows my mind and I really loved her Shikhandi. I also really love anything Ashely Lobo does, his Contemporary Dance company Navdhara are brilliant. They've been all over this year and any chance they are in Mumbai I run to see them.