Hi, I'm Fringe :: Interviews with Play Cupid and Reflecting Antigone

Written on June 30, 2016

Brett Abelman is the director behind New Game Theatre’s show Play Cupid, which features Elizabeth Hansen.

EH: With theatre, I was completely hooked from the start. The amount of work that goes into rehearsal and just diving into characters – I’ve found that to be a very thrilling and scary place, and that’s the kind of art I like to involve myself in.

BA: The communal spirit is what drew me. I grew up here, so this is my home. I don’t want to go to New York and try to make there, I want to produce here, locally.

EH: I love DC theatre so much. I think the community is unique, they’re incredibly supportive, and there’s so many new works created here – that’s why I stay.

BA: Fringe is a chance. You can try things without trying to get through the gates of an established system, you can do weirder things, and people will show up and be open to them. I saw a past Fringe show that was also under the category of ‘interactive theatre’ – and was inspired by that. By the sense of responsibility as an audience member, and the loss you experience by not seeing everything. For a matchmaking show like this, I was looking for a cast of five people, two men, two women and one genderqueer. We explored dating and assumptions that people make about others. We put together various dating scenarios and what would happen with each potential pairing, and constructed the show from there. With five characters, there are ten possible dates. Audiences can expect to learn something about their own assumptions, and to have a good time. It opens your mind and leaves you with those warm feelings that come from being entertained and expanded.

EH: What drew me was that I could play the first genderqueer character I’ve played. Also the idea that I would put all this work into a show and possibly not ever be chosen was really neat. This is different and this is a really exciting project.

Lisa Hill-Corley appears in The Rude Mechanicals of Fredericksburg’s Reflecting Antigone as the title role.

I was a writer first, and I didn’t do theatre until I was an adult. I missed all the formative years. The Rude Mechanicals threw me into situations and had me learn that way. There’s no better teacher than classical work. We’re across the spectrum of people who have never acted before to people who are just branching out into professional work.

The director Leanne was teaching in Baltimore at the time of the uprising. She had wanted to do Antigone with a modern theme and this spoke to the play, the ancient and the modern coming together. She involved me because she wanted the Antigone from Baltimore to be a person of color.

But it’s not just a story specific to Baltimore. We have a short film at the top that talks about the shootings going on all over the country. The reason we’re in D.C. is because Fringe draws people from all three regions. The Rudes have done Fringe every year, and I have done it four times. We come back because this is a chance to speak to a lot of different people. We’re a classical troupe, but with Fringe we wanted to give it a different spin. We want to stay fresh because that’s part of our mission.

Audiences should expect to be challenged by their perceptions of Greek theatre and its relationship to modern works. There’ve always been Creons and there’ve always been Antigones. We want people to walk away feeling the drive to be the Antigone of their generation. I would like for people to see this as a universal story, and not just an African-American story. I hope it touches people to think about their place in society, as well as drawing attention to what Leanne originally wanted to say about Baltimore.

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