Tuesday, February 19, 2013

FRIGID New York Interview - Emily Tuckman of "Commencing"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Emily Tuckman
Show: Commencing by Jane Shepard

Emily Tuckman has been performing for over 12 years in New York. She started Estraña Theatre Company three years  ago so as to produce powerful, female roles and edgy, thought-provoking theatre. Her favorite roles include Jackie-O in House of Yes (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Guildenstern in The Hamlet Project (La Mama Etc.), Blanche in Streetcar Named Desire, Laura in The Glass Menagerie (New York Fringe Festival), Evelyn in The Shape of Things (Estraña Theatre Company) and Helena in Midsummer Night’s Dream (Estraña Theatre Company). She also directed and produced A…My Name is Alice, and studied at Williamstown Theatre Festival, with Larry Singer, at Upright Citizens Brigade, and received a grant to study at Folger Shakespeare Institute.

What’s your show about?

Its about two women who are set up on a blind date, each expecting something totally different than they get.  One dreams of her perfect man, while the other, after 9 months date-free is hoping to meet her ideal (female) match.  After an awkward struggle, the women begin to learn about the complexities about the others’ lives-filled with hysterical, poignant, and sensual moments, this play is guaranteed to keep you guessing.

What inspired you to produce it?

I have run Estraña Theatre Company for three years, and our goal is to create powerful, edgy theatre that leaves the audience thinking and questioning after the play is over.  I read over 100 plays before choosing this one.  I look for fantastic and eloquent writing, for deep and challenging relationships in the text, and for plays that move in such an arc that they will keep the audience engaged throughout.  This play had two such rich and fascinating characters, and their interactions and stories were so interesting, that I had to produce it!

Who else is involved with the show?

Christina Massie, who is a very talented director that I have worked with before on House of Yes, Sarah E Jacobs, an incredible stage and film actor, and Tanya Soman, the assistant director, whom I talk drama to during her high school years.

Who is your dream audience for this show?

Smart people who love theatre.

Who are your biggest influences?

Wow-this is a tough one... Early on my biggest influences in the theatre were Cherry Jones and Julie White--such passionate, hard-working, committed actors. Meryl Streep mesmerized me as she is so versatile.  Rachel Weisz engaged me with her mystery and stoicism. Truly, my first inspiration was Jamie Beaman who played Scrooge to my 12-year old Tiny Tim at Boston Children’s Theatre, a professional theatre in Boston.

What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

I'm excited to see The God Box after watching the snapshots.  Also, Ringmaster looks really interesting. 

What's next for you after FRIGID?

We are planning to take Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things to the Edinburgh Fringe, and then in the fall Estraña Theatre Company is putting up a site specific performance of Macbeth.

Lightning round

Paper or plastic? Paper

Comedy or drama? Oooh--a drama-edy

Beach or mountains?  Beach

Black box or proscenium?  Black Box

Glee or Smash?  Smash (I was in it, so I'm biased)

Cats or dogs?  Dogs

Musical or straight play?  Straight play-all the way

Commencing plays at the Kraine Theater on the following dates:

Feb 23, 2:05 PM
Feb 24, 3:40 PM
Feb 25, 7:05 PM
Feb 28, 10:15 PM
Mar 02, 12:30 PM

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