Director Katia Schwarz, responded to Cleveland Stage Alliance’s “5 Questions” from CSA resident critic Kevin Kelly.
Why did you choose to direct this show?
It was serendipitous that this was the play that Mamaí Theatre Company offered me to direct. It was inspired by a period in history that has always been of particular interest to me – the Pinochet Dictatorship in Chile and its aftermath. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to direct such a significant and meaningful play.
Why does the world need this production, or, another production of this show?
The world needs to see this production (and many more) because it tackles themes and questions that we need to be constantly reminded of. It reminds us of the human rights violations that go on every day around the world. It reminds us of the crimes and corruption of those with power, that too often goes unpunished. I believe this play urges us to not simply be bystanders in our world, but to be ‘upstanders.’ It is a brilliantly written piece that keeps you engrossed and on the edge of your seat while posing so many important questions.
Can you share some memorable moments from the rehearsal period?
Some of the most memorable moments came in our initial table work as the actors and I discussed the historical context of the play. We were repeatedly moved by the long-lasting impact of the dictatorship on a country. We have all been so invested in telling this story and it has been an incredible journey as we have worked together to do justice to this powerful play. We had a wonderful, collaborative process with much generosity of spirit by all, and in spite of the difficult subject matter, we also shared a lot of laughs.
As you watched your opening weekend, what resonates with you from the audience?
Honestly, what has resonated most for me is how truly mesmerized the audiences seem to have been, how they have rushed back to their seats after intermission to see more, and how you could not hear a pin drop in the theatre.
What do you think you and the actors have accomplished?
I am proud of the work we have done together because I am hearing so many people talk about how they have been moved by the play. They have been asking the questions that the playwright hoped audiences would consider, and they are thinking about the state of our world today. If this is how audiences are leaving, then I think we have done something right.
Derdriu Ring as Paulina
Jeffrey Grover as Gerardo
Terence Cranendonk as Roberto
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Kennedy’s Cabaret at Playhouse Square
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