Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Spotlight on John Adams and How To Measure Half an Egg

By • Jun 14th, 2007 • Category: Interviews, NVTA

Listen to Mike talk with John Adams, director of How To Measure Half an Egg [MP3 6:32 1.9MB].

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio I am talking with John Adams who is directing How To Measure Half an Egg at the NVTA Festival, the entry of Dominion Stage. They’ll be performing Friday evening at 7:30. Thanks for talking with me, John.

John: Glad to be here.

Mike: So tell us a little about the show: How To Measure Half an Egg.

John: It’s a short play. I don’t want to give too much of it away. Let’s say it happens in the present time. It could be happening in restaurants all over the area during the same time it’s happening on stage. It’s about finding opportunities and losing opportunities.

Mike: The play is by Christine Rusch. How did you find the play?

John: Several of her plays were submitted to the Dominion Stage board for consideration in a variety of things I guess. When I was planning to direct this, I looked over the plays that were available and selected this one. I thought it was the best play in the group and it was kind of a fun play. Nice play to do for this kind of venue.

Mike: So who is in the show? How many performers do you have?

John: We have Richard Isaacs in one of the roles. He plays a fiance of a woman. He’s kind of self obsessed I guess would be a good way to put it. Amy Hard plays his fiancee. Gary Cramer is a waiter in the restaurant. A fellow named Wally Joe.

I’ve worked in a few plays with Richard. He’s a terrific actor. I saw Gary at Terra Nova that Port City did a couple of months ago. Although he was wearing a heavy overcoat and snow shoes and all this other stuff, I could really picture him as the waiter. I hung around in the lobby after the play was over and recruited him through for the show. Denise Marwa, our Assistant Director and Stage Manager recommended Amy for the role. She’s a drama teacher for Fairfax County. She’s just been great to work with. That’s the cast.

The fourth member of the cast is actually an inanimate object. It makes sounds, but doesn’t have any lines. Sometimes it intrudes upon our lives. Sometimes it helps bond people together and sometimes it causes people to distance themselves from each other. I’ll just leave it at that.

Mike: You mentioned in an email to me that this is your first time directing.

John: I’ve been in a number of plays. The last show I was in I played Robish in Desperate Hours at Little Theatre of Alexandria. I’m in an independent student film that has it’s first screening in Maryland Thursday night. We filmed that last Spring. I was in Dominion’s Tom Sawyer, The Musical also last Spring and several other shows. This is my first crack at directing a stage play. It’s been an interesting experience.

Mike: Is it more difficult or trickier than you were picturing?

John: Well, I don’t know. One of the things I like to do when I’m reading a play or in a play is analyze the script from 17 different directions and try to pick up all the meaning I can from it. Directing requires a lot of that. The good thing is you don’t have to memorize the lines. The more work part is there is a lot of behind the scenes work that you’re not even doing during rehearsals and a lot of preparation. You have to be engaged in every moment of rehearsal. Which in some plays actors don’t need to be engaged every moment because they’re not onstage or they have a small part or things like that.

I’ve been finding it a lot of fun and I’ve tried to make it, I have such a good cast that I’ve been trying to make it a collaborative experience for everybody. I made that clear at the first rehearsal we had. And fun. I’m not sitting there calling cut and telling everybody what to do. I’ve been very open to suggestions. We’ve had some that have actually changed significant things in the play. Some of the decisions that we’ve made. With this kind of cast I wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity of getting in as much knowledge and intelligence and creativity from them as I could.

Mike: Do you want to direct again on a full length show?

John: Well, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it. I definitely would like to come back to NVTA next year. I was even talking to one group about possibly directing something that they ended up not doing. I saw a couple of roles in that play that I would have liked. I think I would rather have been on stage for that than been directing it. It’s nice to have experience doing both things.

Mike: Dominion Stage is the group that is sponsoring this.

John: Yes. Jesse Roberts is the president. Denise is on the board. We’ve gotten a lot of support from them in doing this and a lot of encouragement. I hope there are as many Dominion subscribers as possible come to our performance. In fact come to
all the performances in the festival that are left.

Mike: There’s three sets of performances. Friday night is when yours is at 7:30. Then Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening.

John: Then we go to the awards ceremony Sundayevening and bite our fingernails to see who won.

Mike: Well, I wish you all the best of luck with it. Or break a leg with it.

John: Thank you much. We’re looking forward. I hope you can make it to some of the shows. If you do see a short fat guy with a beard come over and say hello.

Mike: Will do. We’ve made it to all the sessions so far and we’re planning to come to the next set.

John: Ok. Terrific. We’ll look for you then.

Mike: Thanks a lot, John.

John: Thank you.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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