BWW Interview: Cheryl Faraone of DOGG'S HAMLET, CAHOOT'S MACBETH by Tom Stoppard at PTP/NYC
PTP/NYC's (Potomac Theatre Project) 33rd repertory season and their 13th consecutive season in New York City will be from July 9 - August 4 for a limited Off-Broadway engagement at The Atlantic Stage 2, located at 330 West 16th Street. This season's line-up includes DOGG'S HAMLET, CAHOOT'S MACBETH, by Tom Stoppard, directed by PTP's Co-Artistic Director Cheryl Faraone, and HAVEL: THE PASSION OF THOUGHT, comprised of five serio-comic one act plays by Vaclav Havel, Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett, directed by PTP's Co-Artistic Director Richard Romagnoli. Previews begin on July 9 and openings begin on July 16.
Cheryl Faraone has been the Producing Artistic Director of PTP/NYC since 1986. Her directing credits in New York include The After-Dinner Joke, Arcadia, Vinegar Tom, Serious Money, Pentecost, Lovesong of the Electric Bear, Territories, Crave, and The Politics of Passion: the Plays of Anthony Minghella. During PTP's time in DC, she directed work by Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard and Shelagh Stephenson, among others.
Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Cheryl Faraone about her career and the upcoming performances at PTP/NYC.
Tell us a little about how you got into directing.
I think perhaps it was a usual way - no one encouraged my aspirations as an actress, so when directing came into the picture (we drew straws in my senior directing class; I lost, so had to actually stage a scene...) it was happily an immediate connection.
Any particular mentors?
Not directly, no, apart from my colleague and husband, Richard Romagnoli - we mentor each other, I suppose. Apart from that, purely immersing myself in the work of boundary breakers in the discipline.
What has made PTP such a dynamic theatre?
I would like to think it's the pure passion that ignites and incites the work. There are no real financial rewards; there is the joy of Vermont for a bit in the summer, but after that it's the work itself. The plays matter, the company embraces the stories and the methods of telling them; the professional company members gladly and wonderfully mentor the student company. There is also an enormous amount of shared history; our Associate Artistic Director was a member of the student company in 1986, our first season; this year's company includes an actor finishing his fifth consecutive season with us who started as a student in 1994, and a classmate of his who's done 7 seasons. And we return often to writers who consistently challenge members as actors and as human beings.
What are some of the challenges of being the Producing Artistic Director?
The limitations of a 24-hour day and 7-day week. I love the multiple hats but wearing them can be a crazy balancing act.
We'd love your thoughts on directing Stoppard's plays.
It's one of my favorite theatrical experiences. The work is so smart, and so human and so giving to everyone in the audience (and in the company). Years ago I spoke with an actor who created the role of Rosencrantz, and he spoke of the deep pleasure of having Stoppard (who was then 26) in the rehearsal room...." I was in the presence of an intelligence greater than my own." That's what it feels like, you get to immerse yourself in such an endless process - you come out better and smarter and more certain of the power of theatre.
Tell us a little about your team.
Long-time collaborators, almost all of them. Hallie Zieselman, the lighting designer, is also the production manager and student wrangler, invaluable and indispensable. Mark Evancho, who does the sets, is possibly one of the nicer people on the planet...they are surrounded by new costume and sound design collaborators and an amazing group of stage managers, who've been with us 2-4 years and counting.
What would you like audiences to know about the upcoming shows?
They are intelligent and joyous and at times unbearably, uproariously funny. There is a conversation going on between them, between them and the times and between them and the meaning of theatre. Havel and Stoppard were fellow Czechs, and the insights are often uncannily similar.
Can you share any future plans?
For more information on Potomac Theater Project NYC and to purchase tickets for the upcoming shows, please visit: https://ptpnyc.org/.
Like PTP/NYC on Facebook at https://www.Facebook.com/pages/Potomac-Theatre-Project-PTP/32709392256, follow on Twitter at @ptpnyc (https://twitter.com/ptpnyc), and on Instagram at @ptpnyc.official (https://www.instagram.com/ptpnyc.official)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cheryl Faraone