Sunday, June 3, 2012

Planet Connections Interview - Susan Wallack of "Searching for a New Sun"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Susan Wallack
Show: “Searching For a New Sun”
Relationship to production: Producer, Actor

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I had wanted to act my whole life, but due to many circumstances too lengthy to write about, I started at age 40. I took the best acting classes in NY, even though I lived in MD. Singing lessons added a great belt to my soprano. I felt like a new person.

Who are your biggest influences?

Just seeing great productions of plays and working with students at Columbia, thereby, listening to Anne Bogart who is amazing.

What is your show about?

It is about a grandmother who lives with her granddaughter and doesn’t want to share her past about The Holocaust. It has humor in it. It is not maudlin.

What inspired you to produce it?

I had done a reading of it as an actor. The playwright Robin Rice Lichtig is amazing and has won many awards and has plays being done around the country and this year in Edinburgh so I decided to produce it as well for Planet Connections.

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

I know the work of Katrin Hilbe. She directs plays and operas and is interested in things that are unusual. I’ll be working with 4 other actresses with whom I have never worked which is really exciting-Tatania Pavela, Emma Galvin, Liz de Betta and Valerie David. The writer and director did the casting.

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

I have been in the festival twice before -- sharing material -- and the whole concept is so important in the world today.

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

We can’t give to a charity because we are doing a reading but we are supporting 2 organizations: UJA and Heifer International. Ours is a showcase.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I have no idea. Things pop up all the time and it’s always a surprise.

If you could do one thing to change the world, what would it be?

Stop wars. I can’t even read the newspaper. There is so much animosity between people of different religions and races it never stops. Someone always wants to be dominant and there is so much bloodshed.

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