Monday, September 30, 2013

2013 Interview with John Frank Levey

Casting director John Frank Levey is the director of the Road Theatre Company's current production of Lake Anne at their second theatre space on Magnolia in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony. He has directed many shows over a 45 year period; in fact, Levey had the NEA Directors Fellowship in 1980 at the Mark Taper Forum here in Los Angeles.

Who are your favorite playwrights and what are some of the plays you have directed before Lake Anne?

I grew up on Albee, Pinter and Ionesco in the 60s. Some of  the plays I have directed include Waiting for Godot, Death of a Salesman and Zoo Story.

As director of Lake Anne, what were your greatest challenges in staging the play?

Because of the projections the stage got very shallow so keeping good angles of movement was difficult but those same projected images added so much to the production that it was worth it.

For you, what is the key message (or messages) in the play?

Having known Marthe Gold for four-plus decades, it is a pleasure to join with the village that is the Road Theatre in giving her this world premiere production of her play, Lake Anne. Sadly, there is often a gap, a gulf with regard to loving between what we think, what we say, what we genuinely feel, what we intend, and what we actually do. For me, Lake Anne is a play about love, and that gap, that gulf, that chasm, that empty space between intention and result. Even as I love you badly, I love you with all my heart.

Compared to other plays you've directed, how does this size up?

Lake Anne is a dark and nuanced piece and for all of us finding the balance between that darkness and the character's humanity was hard work. living in the world of Lake Anne for the duration of the rehearsal period and the run takes a level of commitment from the actors that is demanding.

How was it like directing this cast?

A complete pleasure we had fun and worked well as a unit for which I am grateful and proud.

Talk a little about the Road Theatre Company and your association with it.

Sam (Anderson) was my entry point and I have known and respected him as an actor for a long time. Working with Marthe and Sam on the script was a pleasure. He is great with the written word and insightful in many ways. I had never met Taylor when this process began and in the early meetings she was so quiet that I didn't get much of a sense of her. Honestly I am quite sure we would not have made it to the finish line without her. She made it fun when it was difficult and I've never felt so supported and appreciated by a artistic director ever. The rest of the family of the Road has been wonderful as well.

Visit Lake Anne through November 9:

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