Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Planet Connections Interview - Elizabeth Alice Murray of "Woman in the Dark"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Elizabeth Alice Murray
Play: Woman in the Dark
Relationship to production: writer and performer
Website: http://www.elizabethalicemurray.com/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I saw Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan and I always wanted to be able to fly.

Who are your biggest influences?

Lily Tomlin, Groucho Marx, Katherine Hepburn and Fozzie Bear.

What is your show about?

In the blackout of August 2003, I was trapped with two strangers in an elevator for 5 1/2 hours.

Here's our blurb: Dangling between hilarity and terror, a young woman is trapped in an elevator above Grand Central Station during the Blackout of 2003. Elizabeth Alice Murray takes on multiple characters as she recounts her journey from panic and anxiety to resentment and optimistic mania as she befriends and alienates her elevator fellows and reflects upon the larger questions and possibilities of "being in the dark."

What inspired you to write it?

I told this story to so many people I realized that it ought to be a show.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

My director, Erika Iverson and I were interested in theatre that focuses on the power of the actor telling the story rather than sets and costumes.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We are working with Women for Women International which provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies. I mention women in Afghanistan during the show and we felt that it was important to work with a charity that is helping them-- 79% of women and girls in Afghanistan are illiterate. Women for Women is helping to change this.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I will be playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Emilia in Othello with the Hip to Hip Shakespeare Company this summer. Look for us in parks all over New York City!

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

A kiwi! Fuzzy on the outside, tangy and delicious on the inside!

Woman in the Dark
Friday, June 10th at 6:00PM
Tuesday, June 14th at 4:00PM
Saturday, June 18th at 8:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

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