Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Planet Connections Interview - Victoria Crutchfield of "Cécile, or, The School for Fathers"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Victoria Crutchfield (The February Company)
Play: Cécile, or, The School for Fathers
Relationship to production: Translator, Director, Producer
Website: http://planetconnections.org/cecile/

How did you first get involved in theatre?

When I was in second grade, I was one of only two Winkies to have a line in the school production of the Wizard of Oz (the first ever spring play at my grade school). The next year I played one of the singing mermaids in Peter Pan. After that, I was utterly convinced that the next school play would be Alice in Wonderland, and that I should be cast as Alice. During the summer before fourth grade, my dad (an opera conductor) coached me rigorously on diction and projection. The play that year was based on J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit." I never got to play Alice. But I was still hooked.

Who are your biggest influences?

Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Lumet, my parents; various and sundry visual artists; and for this show, Sofia Coppola & her Marie Antoinette.

What is your show about?

Cécile is about fathers and daughters and artifice and sincerity. In some ways it's a style exercise-- Jean Anouilh "does" Molière-- but like any exercise by a powerful artist, it has a depth and interest that take it beyond that.

What inspired you to bring it to the stage?

I love Anouilh and the way his plays embed philosophy and social critique in highly entertaining dialogue and compelling stories. I was excited to find a translated version of Cécile-- a fun, short comedy perfect for the beginning of summer. When I read the translation side-by-side with the French, however, I realized that it didn't flow the way Anouilh's language does. I wrote my own translation to be as close to the French as possible-- in both meaning and rhythm.

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

Honestly it just makes sense to be eco-friendly, since most things that are eco-friendly are also budget-friendly. If only it were that obvious to people in other industries.

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

We chose the New York Public Library. The NYPL doesn't cure disease or clean drinking water, but it does ensure New Yorkers equal access to ideas and information. The internet is so powerful and so rich that I think we sometimes forget that it isn't comprehensive; the full text of Cécile, for instance, can't be found online. The internet also isn't free, and for those who can't afford it at home, the NYPL provides access to this invaluable tool-- as well as to millions of equally invaluable tools: books.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I do a lot of work in opera, and my next project is assistant directing for Opera Omnia, a New York group that does Baroque opera in English in bars.

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?
The citrus-flavored très leches cake at Rosa Mexicana.

Cécile, or, The School for Fathers
Wednesday, June 01 at 9:30PM
Thursday, June 02 at 7:00PM
Saturday, June 04 at 11:00AM
Monday, June 06 at 5:00PM
Friday, June 10 at 7:45PM
Sunday, June 12 at 3:00PM

The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street

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