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The Hoot gets Klasko’s Goat

Published: October 27, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

Continuing the series of Hoot interviews with student directors, I recently had a chance to sit down with the enormously busy David Klasko 07 and have a chat about the play he has been directing, which is running this weekend in the Shapiro Theater.

Hoot: So, Dave, what is this show that youre directing for the Brandeis Players?

David Klasko: The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia.

Hoot: Wait, which is it?

DK: The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia.

Hoot: You havent decided yet?

DK: Weve decided on The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia.

Hoot: But is it The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

DK: Yes.

Hoot: Alright then, moving on Why dont you tell us a little about the play?

DK: This is a show that has been two years in the making. It presents a huge challenge artistically, and just as large a challenge in terms of acting. Its also very marketable. It was on Broadway a few years ago and won the Tony Award for Best Play. Marketability, however, is not the sole reason for doing a show;

this was one of the most beautiful plays Ive ever read. Its hilarious, yet devastatingly tragic. But it has also got a premise we can shout from the tables in Usdan.

Hoot: Could you please tell us a little more about the content of the play itself?

DK: Theres a story, theres a plot, theres a lot of dialogue, and a lot of things happen, but Im not going to tell you what it means beyond that. I dont want to cheat the viewer out of the opportunity, and I dont want to cheapen the play by doing that. This play will make you think, but Im not here to tell you about what. Im not even here to point you in the right direction. Come see The Goat, and you will leave changed. I promise you.

Hoot: Edward Albee is famous for writing brutal, brutal plays in which characters will suddenly pause in heated conversation to correct their grammar. Does The Goat fit in with this tradition?

DK: Yes, thats a lot of this play. Its incredible when he does that. Hes not stopping the action, the thrust of the play, but they have non-sequiturs just like in normal human interaction. Its something thats really interesting to do on a college campus where people are educated enough to identify with that. The way it comes across in The Goat is less, shall we say, stuffy than in other Albee works. As the plot gets more intense, the characters find themselves less tolerant of this almost elitist banter.

Hoot: A year ago you directed Fool for Love with an interesting arrangement of having both a director and an artistic director. Would you like to talk a little about that and how you see The Goat as differing from Fool for Love from a production standpoint?

DK: Fool for Love was my first time directing, and we split up the responsibilities of directing the actual cast of the show and directing the artistic vision of the show. Nathan Paoletta [06] was the artistic director for Fool for Love and that was a beautifully conceived show. This year the equally-capable Erica Weston [07] is the artistic director. She is leading the all-star team of designers in creating the world the play takes place in and my end has been working with the actors. Fool for Love is a small play in that it is small cast, small set, and about an hour long. This play is a much bigger production;

we hope to make it into a much bigger deal, make it Goat Weekend.

Hoot: Fool for Love is a play about incest. The Goat is a play about bestiality. Should we be worried about these sorts of themes constantly appearing in plays you direct?

DK: I would like to say I have no history with incest or bestiality. I wanted to do something that challenges actors to look into a side they never thought they could access, that they never thought they could reach. Not that Im saying that deep down in everyone theres a bestial whatever, but Im just saying that sense of deep depravity is a very interesting challenge, a very fun challenge for an actor. This play never tries to be something that it isnt. Its very real. Its not a situation play, its a very real play. Its not a play where you have a talkback afterwards about the upsides and downsides of goat sex. Its a real story, not a true story but a real story, about a real family and what happens to that family with this big affair.

Hoot: You have assembled a quite formidable cast for this production, would you like to talk about them for a moment?

DK: This cast The greatest thing about this cast is the willingness to take that extra step with me and go beyond the call of duty, especially for the kind of show where theyre not getting academic credit. Theyve taken this show and these characters upon themselves as their main priorities. Everyone has committed themselves completely to this project. Kaitlin [Kerr 09] and Jeff [Rosenblatt 08] both starred in UTC shows last year. Ive worked with them in classroom situations before and theyre both incredibly talented and both have the ability to sort of carry a show on their shoulders. Theyve shown an incredible sense of professionalism mixed with their raw talent and dedication. Jahfree [Duncan 09] and Stephan [Isaac 10] are doing their first UTC shows but are also incredibly talented and incredibly professional. It has been an amazing process.

Hoot: What shows are you looking forward to seeing this semester?

DK: All of them. I see every UTC show. I see every show that I can on campus because its theatre, its on campus, its cheap, and theres always something good to see. Of course there are flaws, but if you can put your ego aside, relax, go see a piece of theatre, and just look for the good in it, youre going to have a good time and enjoy yourself no matter what. Not that there havent been shoddy productions in the past, but I think its really important that people go see shows. I want people to come see theatre, not just so we have bodies in the seats, but because it can be a very enjoyable experience.

Hoot: Okay, time for the vital informationdates, times, tickets, location?
DK: The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia will be performed in the Shapiro Theater Friday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available for $5 during lunch in Lower Usdan on Friday and $6 at the door. Come see the show!