Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

Interview with Bad Dates Director Adrianne Krstansky


Interview with “Bad Dates” Director Adrianne Krstansky

Do you, as a director, have to make any changes to “Bad Dates” with the show moving from Shakespeare & Company to MRT? Specifically, what happens when you have to put the show in a different house (Shakespeare & Company vs. MRT). Also, how will this affect Elizabeth as an actress?

So, Shakespeare & Company and MRT are two very different playing spaces. (At Shakespeare & Company) Elizabeth was acting in more of a proscenium configuration and what we hope to do at MRT is get her a bit more out into the audience. It would be a great question to ask Lizzy once she gets into the space how it feels comparatively to her, but I imagine, even though it is a bigger house, the way MRT is configured will actually make the play feel a bit more intimate to her. She is so intuitive as an actress and will easily adjust her energy to give the play that same sense of intimacy, that we are right with her in her bedroom having a chat with a wonderful friend, as it has at Shakespeare & Company.

How it is different working with a one-person cast vs. an ensemble?

It is an amazing opportunity to focus all of your attention on one actor – it feels to me as if it is akin to directing a play under a microscope. So much more actually lands on an audience in terms of detail when one actor is onstage. Also, when you have the opportunity to work with an actress as spontaneous and engaging as Elizabeth, she always makes me feel as if I am seeing the play for the first time – so the opportunities she presents as an actor, to a director, are endless. And part of the joy of now being at Merrimack is that we have this fantastic opportunity to go back into rehearsal for a few days and revisit our choices, see how the play has grown and where it wants to go now with the brilliant input of Charles Towers and the Merrimack audience.

Is there a certain show you have directed that stands out as very difficult to direct, or does each show present a unique challenge?

Each show does present a unique challenge, but a real tough one that stands out is Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution. Beyond the technical elements and the design challenges, the play is so densely written. Barker is a political writer, so you have a play with these extremely brilliant and passionate characters, who have this incredible command of language and ideas but at the same time the visceral desires and impulse control of an animal. So it was like directing a room full of lions with PhDs. Great fun but completely exhausting. In terms of sheer difficulty, though, I think the hardest shows to direct are the ones you have no personal way into – no way to understand not only in your mind, but your heart and imagination. Best to say no to those, I’ve learned.

You work at Brandeis University. How long have you been associated with the university, and what classes do you teach?

I started working at Brandeis in 1999 as an Artist in Residence and was made an Assistant Professor in 2004. I teach Acting, Improvisation, Suzuki, Viewpoints, and Collaborative Process in the undergraduate and graduate MFA Acting program and I direct university productions.

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