Monday, February 6, 2012

A THOUSAND WORDS: An interview with Libby Amato

A THOUSAND WORDS is just on the horizon for MCT (opening February 16th) and the excitement is definitely growing. Despite busy schedules, the actors were kind enough to take time out to answer some of our questions. I will be posting their responses here as they
come in starting with Libby Amato who portrays not one, but two characters in A THOUSAND WORDS: Jessica Shoemaker and Abbie Lehman. Below Libby sh
ares her perspective of the experience.

What has it been like for you to perform in the world premiere of a new play?

It's pretty exciting that we're bringing these characters to life on stage for the first time. We've all had a ha
nd in shaping the world of the play. It feels like a big responsibility! I wonder how other actors, directors, and designers might envision this world in the future, and I feel fortunate to have been here for the first full production.

(From Left: Georgina McKee, Libby Amato;
Photo by Nick Berard)

What is it like to have the playwright in the room to watch the development of the show? How has this process affected your performance?

Gwen is such a talented writer, and she was very open to all of our ideas and thoughts about the play. We were able to have some great discussions and she welcomed our questions. I think there was the potential for it to be a difficult situation, but inst
ead it was lovely. Everyone came in with their own interpretation of the script, and it was a room full of smart, talented people. It was wonderful to see all those ideas come together to create this production.

Do you have any thoughts about the progression of the
show as it moves from Madison to Milwaukee?

The theatres are very different, so there will have to be some adjustments to technical aspects. But I think the most interesting difference will be in our audiences. Milwaukee and Madison both have unique atmospheres. I can't wait to see how Milwaukee patrons will react to the show!

(From left: Molly Rhode, Libby Amato, Josh Aaron McCabe; Photo by Nick Berard)

This play is very topical in our current socioeconomic climate. What are your thoughts as an actor as to why this is a positive piece to be pursuing right at this point in American

My brother came to see the show right after learning about Walker Evans in a college class
and it gave us the opportunity to talk about many of the issues raised in the play. I love the questions this play asks about art. What is the cost of art, versus the value of art? What compromises need to be made in order for art to survive? Where is the balance between maintaining the purity of the artwork, and treating the subject with respect? It was interesting for me to learn more about the FSA (Farm Security Administration) and how art was used as a tool for change. Makes you think about how that might be happening today, in less obvious ways. I hope we'll really get people thinking.

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