Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Creative Team Interview #4: Ariel Francoeur, Asst Director for THREE SISTERS

Welcome to our exciting series of interviews, where you can get to know the cast & creative team in our production of Three Sisters -- an adaptation by Brian Friel of Anton Chekhov's classic story.

Three Sisters runs March 9-25, 2012, Wed-Sat at 7:30pm; Sat & Sun at 2pm in New York City.

For tickets, please click here.

For more info about The Seeing Place, click here.

Your Name:
Ariel Francoeur

Role in this Production:
Assistant Director

How long have you been directing?
Directing for 11 years, acting for almost 20 (oh my gosh!)

How long have you been in NYC?
About 3 ½ years.

Where are you from originally?
A town called Orwell, Vermont, population 600.

What's been your favorite project, to date?
They’ve all been special in their way, but the first project that comes to mind is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which was produced at my college in Portland, Maine. Half-way through the process, as the result of extensive character work, improv, and late-night discussions, the cast and I decided the show would start out as a staged reading, and as the characters progressed into deeper drunkenness and honesty, the scripts would be referenced less and less and by the final act, abandoned entirely. It was exciting to experiment with performance style, and the result was fascinating. It was my first experience working with brilliant writing, and the origin of my ensemble-based directing style.

If you could work on any play right now, what would it be?
Any O’Neil or Odets (love those O’s)

What's the wackiest experience you've ever had in the theater?
Haha, so many. Probably the most awkward occurred when I played ‘Curley’s Wife’ in Of Mice and Men. Curley’s Wife meets an untimely end when Lenny accidently snaps her neck. After the gripping death scene, I had to lie center stage for the final 20 minutes of the play, keeping my breathing shallow and willing my limbs not to twitch in rebellion. One day we performed the play for 200 junior high school students, and Lenny dropped me in an unfortunate position. The concentration required to maintain this position forced my diaphragm into overdrive, and those sweet 13 year-old-boys took notice. As I lay there I was assaulted by giggles and whispers of ‘she’s not dead! Look, her stomach’s moving! Ha ha ha!' The torture of not uncurling myself and shouting obscenities is one I won’t easily forget.

What's your experience with Chekhov?
I’ve read Chekhov in college, and seen the movie Uncle Vanya, but this is my first time being part of a Chekhov production.

What's been the most challenging thing about preparing for this project?
Opening my mind to new style of directing that is outside my comfort zone. I’m very good at the technical aspects, and creating a sharp looking production with every detail in place. This technique is completely actor-based, so many of my ‘tricks’ do not come into play. It’s been awesome watching Brandon work with the actors to specify and deepen their objectives, and to create an active life that would be occurring if the scene was not taking place. I can’t wait to incorporate what I’ve learned into future projects!

What excites you about THREE SISTERS?
Seeing multiple performances, and observing the different tactics the actors will use each night to go after their objectives. It may be different all the time, and that is scary and magical!

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