Friday, February 26, 2010

FRIGID New York Interview - Jessi D. Hill and Brian McManamon of It or Her

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Jessi D. Hill

Name: Jessi D. Hill and Brian McManamon
Show: It or Her
Website: and

Tell me a little bit about It or Her.

Jessi D. Hill: It or Her is black comedy about a man that meticulously creates an entire world of relationships with objects, in absence of the personal relationships that he has never experienced in his life. He vigorously and unapologetically imagines the greatest joys of life into existence and suffers the consequences of living out his artistic dreams and shunning, and ultimately destroying, his reality.

Brian McManamon: Somewhere between "Pee-Wee’s Adventure" and "The Tell-Tale Heart," Alena Smith’s provocative dark comedy It or Her explores the basement of a suburban home where Andrew has devoted himself unconditionally to his incredible collection of figurines. After suffering the loss of The Red One, he seeks to uncover “the ultimate arrangment” before his hideout is invaded and his dark secret is revealed.

What inspired you to work on it?

Jessi D. Hill: I am a director who has made a career of my passion for directing, developing and producing new work for the stage. Each day I commit myself to seeking out, creating and maintaining working relationships with talented playwrights, like Alena Smith, that seek to invigorate and renew the theatre with their unique voice. I continue to make theatre directing my life every day because of my deep love for live performance and am especially drawn to plays that allow talented actors, like Brian McManamon, to do their best possible work.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

Brian McManamon: Playwright, Alena Smith and director, Jessi D. Hill and I all met as students at the Yale School of Drama. Alena is a genius. Jessi is brilliant. I learned both of these things from watching their work at Yale but unfortunately I never had the chance to work with them while we were students. Three years passed since graduation and Alena asked Jessi to team up on a new production of It or Her, and together they approached me about working on the role of Andrew. I enthusiastically accepted and the three of us set out to work.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

The Director, Jessi Hill will be directing Thirty Story Masterpieces by Tommy Smith for Red Fern Theatre, and the U.S. Premiere of The Tender Mercies by Sladjana Vujovic for One Year Lease Theatre Company at Teatro Circulo.

The latest play by Alena Smith will be read at the Public Theater on March 1st.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

Though the subject matter seems atypical, the show has a broad reaching appeal - it will speak to everyone who has ever tried to be an artist in the world.

It or Her
By Alena Smith

The Red Room
85 East 4th Street

Wed 2/24 - 6:30 PM
Fri 2/26 - 8:00 PM
Sun 2/28 - 2:00 PM
Mon 3/01 - 6:30 PM
Thu 3/04 - 8:00 PM

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