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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tempest III Interview with the Director, Joshua Robinson

Studio 10 Site

  Our last installment of the III Part Tempest Series is an exclusive interview with the Director himself, Joshua Robinson! Thank you, Joshua for taking the time from your busy schedule to be a guest on the Local Lady Blog. 

Here We Go:

Joshua Robinson, Director of the Tempest at RCT

What are some of your best Richmond memories?

"My first taste of the stage was in the production of THE WIZARD OF OZ in the early 1990’s. I fell head first in love with theatre. It was a gigantic production. If I recall, somewhere around 150 kids cast in the show. It was insane. Even as a fifth grader, I  was immediately taken with the nature of live performance and the relationship between the audience and the show. It was also where I met John Bronston, my best friend and frequent collaborator who is writing the original score to THE TEMPEST. Of course, we were actually sworn enemies through a significant portion of our childhood. Now, he’s like family and we’ve had a fantastic time collaborating on two musicals that have appeared in NYC. We also have three new projects on the horizon. "

Could you tell us about your involvement in the theatre in Richmond as well as elsewhere?

"I was pretty active at RCT, Junior Players (now Stage One) and at Richmond High School. While I always loved performing, I knew early on that I wanted to be involved more creatively with theatre. When I was a freshman in high school, Junior Players allowed me to direct my first show, STUART LITTLE. That experience sort of reoriented my trajectory in terms of how I wanted to work in the arts. Music and acting were important to me, and I continued to participate in shows at RHS as well as Chamber Choir, but I became obsessed with directing. Through a series of great miracles, and some generous donations from members of the community, I got to spend my senior year of high school at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. That was my first exposure to studying directing in a formal setting. It’s that gift, the year I got to spend in Michigan making connection that my career has relied on to this day, that has inspired me to come back and help to begin a Shakespeare program in Richmond."

What's it like to stretch your wings and then return home? 

"I love the east coast. There’s nothing quite like it and the theatre scene is so large and varied. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to develop myself  first as an actor and singer, then as a director and playwright. Bringing back what I’ve learned has been an intoxicating experience. More importantly, I’ve learned so much from not only directing THE TEMPEST here, but teaching a series of workshops on acting and directing. I’m always a Midwestern boy at heart, so merging the two worlds together has been an awesome experience."

How do you see Richmond differently now? What's the same/What's different?

"RCT has grown so much since I’ve been gone! They’re literally doing over a dozen productions a season! What has been most exciting is the enthusiasm for the project.  One thing that is often missing in the professional world is the unbridled passion that comes from a place like RCT. No one is doing this for a paycheck. Everyone is doing this in their very limited free time. That sort of love for theatre is unique and is the reason I fell in love with the form as a child. It has been amazing to be reacquainted 
with that. It has also been fun getting to work with folks who used to direct me. Two of the actors in THE TEMPEST, Ruthanne Bolling and David Cobine, directed me when I was a kid. Also, TJ Rivard, who plays Prospero, was one of the first directors I assisted at RCT. It’s been a trip, everything coming full circle."

What kind of inspiration led to producing an original score for this particular play?

"John and I are writing partners and we have been toying with writing a musical version of THE TEMPEST for a few years now. It’s in the early stages and John has written some absolutely stunning songs for it. When the opportunity arose for me to direct THE TEMPEST at RCT, it seemed like a great opportunity to have John, who also grew up at this theatre and has been very successful in NYC, to pen some vocal and incidental music. His work on the show is so haunting and sophisticated and I’m thrilled that RCT audiences are going to hear his work."
Tempest Rehearsal Sneak Peek

What can we expect to see in Studio 10's version of the Tempest? Any sneak peek or 
titillating tidbits you're willing to share?

"There are TONS of surprises in this production, but I think one of the most exciting is that we have reconfigured the playing space in the theatre. The audience will be onstage with the cast for the performance. Quite literally, the audience will be in the heart of the storm as the ship faces off against the mighty tempest! Actors are centimeters away from the action! Andy has done a fantastic job of facilitating the technical aspects of the show. THE TEMPEST lends itself to fantastical design elements and Andy has been interpreting the vision of the show so brilliantly. I feel I can safely say that this production of THE TEMPEST will be something very unique and I 
can’t wait to share it with the RCT community."

Joshua Robinson (Director) & Andy Darr (Lights)

How are you guys enjoying the collaborative work? 

"John and I have been writing partners since we were in high school and it’s always exciting to see what he is going to come up with. Things are sort of reversed this time. I’ve worked with Andy on some design stuff, but usually at a distance while John and I are on the east coast. This time, Andy and I are together in Richmond and John is working from New York! The three of us won’t be back in the same room together until the closing performance! But these two guys are not just collaborators or even friends. Andy and John are family to me. Our friendships span two decades now and I’m so 
grateful for it. And, with some luck and support, we are hoping to make this an annual 
offering in Richmond. So we’ll be working together for most of our lives, I imagine."

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