Not that the show is technically a Halloween piece, but Halloween has always been my favorite holiday - and not just because I grew up in the Castro with the biggest celebration every year just outside my door. I really enjoy the juxtaposition of horror and comedy, because humor is such an intrinsic survival necessity and scaring ourselves is a very basic human mechanism for escape as well as processing "bad-stuff" in our lives and minds. I think that with Hope we really have something that dances the borders of both gracefully. I like Rod's work and am really happy that we have a full length of his to play with; having only done short pieces in Sheherezade previously. I've been gushing so much about Brady's directing talents lately I feel like I should start an official fan club. The chemistry with everyone during the show is exciting and I think the audience will experiences that magic that happens when the cast is so well matched all around. Seeing all of those elements plus Quinn and Wes' designs come together has made me very happy these past few weeks.
This play is about ghosts - have you ever encountered the supernatural yourself?
Well, family legend has it that I saw dead people so-to-speak when I was a kid. I don't know that I believe in any of it, but I do know there are things I experienced that I can't explain by anything rational. I was, unfortunately around a lot of death and dying in my youth and that had to have had an effect on my perceptions. Or maybe it meant I was exposed to more opportunities to be touched by the otherworld than most people. Who knows?
A close friend swears he saw me floating above the bed in my sleep about a dozen years ago. I do know I can't sleep on my back or I wake up feeling like I've been crashed into by something or smashed into the bed. (The theme from Rod Serling's Twilight Zone is now stuck in my head, thank you ear-worm.)
What is the scariest movie or play you have seen? Why?
I haven't seen any scary plays that I can think of. Silence of the Lambs gave me nightmares for years, but I think that falls into the psychological suspense category, not horror. A friend in high school dragged me to a Friday the 13th double feature and I remember getting so freaked out I went into the lobby and played Poll Position (the car-racing arcade game) until I had one of the highest scores. I just couldn't stand the tension of knowing what the characters didn't and being helpless to stop what was going to unfold. The violence, blood etc. didn't freak me out so much as the powerlessness against the monster. I hate being in the woods at night (25 years later). Aliens (the second one in the series) can still make me squeal with alarm for similar reasons, but I love every minute of it.
What do you hope audiences will take from this production?
I hope there will be a sense of fun for the season. But I also hope they will find the humanity of these characters and the awful circumstances that lead them to the fateful events of the play within the comedy. Familial loyalty, the horrors of what people are capable of, how little we really know about people around us, the nature of hopes and fears, are all things that add depth to Hope's Last Chance and I think will provide something more than just a light Halloween-season treat.