Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 Spotlight Interview with Director Michael Matthews

The Road Theatre Company is proud to present Lisa Loomer’s amazing world premiere play HomeFree at The Road on Magnolia in the NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Boulevard in NoHo, opening Friday September 18. There are three free previews Friday September 11 at 8pm, Saturday September 12 at 8pm and Sunday September 13 at 2pm, followed by previews on Wednesday September 16 at 8pm and Thursday September 17 at 8pm, both at $15 general admission.
Over the next several weeks we will be spotlighting the cast and creative team for the production. This week the spotlight is on multi-award-winning director extraordinaire Michael Matthews.

Matthews was artistic director of the Celebration Theatre for 3 years. During that time in 2012 he directed The Color Purple on the tiny stage, virtually impossible to conceive. He carried it off brilliantly winning the Ovation Award for Best Director. The production won 6 Ovations also including Best Production. Other stellar directorial achievements include The Women of Brewster Place and the acclaimed 3-D Theatricals production of Funny Girl. This is his first directorial assignment at the Road.

What are the challenges of directing this play?

HOMEFREE is a World Premiere and premieres are always challenging for me as there are always changes and cuts and edits and crafting the words to the voices of the actors. As much as it is a challenge, it is also what I find to be incredibly rewarding.

Is it different from any of the other plays you have helmed? If so, in what ways?

Every play I have done has been pretty different, maybe some similarities but not many. I am directing this play as a modern urban fairy tale. These kids have run away from home, homes filled with abuse, no love, and never really a "home". They find a "home" in each other, protection, and find a way to put back together the broken pieces of their lives.

What message does Lisa Loomer drive home in HomeFree?

Lisa met these kids, some of them. Some of them are based on real people, some are fictional. She would see them as people passed by on their way to the theatre. Now you spend an evening in their shoes AT the theatre and watch the world of the play through their eyes, their experiences, what they feel, and how they survive.

What is it like working at the Road? Tell me about your cast.

I am having a great time!! Everyone is quite lovely. The cast is a mix of younger and older and coming together to create a fantastic ensemble to tell this play with full heart, love, and being completely self-less. For me, that is the most important ingredient in telling this story.

How do you feel audiences will react to the play? What do you hope they will take away?

I want our audiences to lean in and not pull away. I want for them to not only see the world in which these characters inhabit but also feel the pain, the darkness, the glimmers of hope, and how we cope; how we relate. Underneath it all, this is a play on the human spirit and the search for hope and home in what can be an utterly dark and complicated world.

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