Yesterday evening was the official kickoff for Salt Lake Acting Company's brand new season, and '14-'15 is looking to entertain the masses at all costs. The company decided to kick things off with a one-woman show, I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers
. A juggernaut 90-minute introspective look at the former manager of celebrities like Cher, Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand, filled with stories that look deep into the entertainment industry and how quickly you can rise and fall behind the scenes. Today we're chatting with the play's director, Robin Wilks-Dunn, as well as the company's co-producers, Cynthia Flwming and Keven Myhre, about bringing the show to SLC and putting it together. (All pictures courtesy of SLAC.
Robin Wlks-Dunn, Keven Myhre & Cynthia Fleming
Gavin: Hey everyone, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Keven and I are Co-Executive Producers at SLAC. We are very pleased to let readers know that Saturday’s Voyeur 2014
was one of the most successful ever. It was so well attended, the run of the show had to be extended – twice. We are looking forward to opening the 44th season of SLAC plays, starting with I’ll Eat You Last
Gavin: What have each of you been doing in local theatre over the past year?
I directed Good People
and A Loss Of Appetite
at SLAC last season.
Producing six shows last season kept us very busy. What’s more, the season subscriber renewal campaign was wildly successful. This season starts off with a record number of season subscribers, topping 2900.
Gavin: Cynthia and Keven, when did you first become aware of I'll Eat Your Last and what were you initial thoughts on the production?
Cynthia: The New York Times
ran a story about this script in April 2013. We were familiar with the playwright John Logan’s work, having produced Red
in a previous season. Who could possible pass on a chance to read a play by a person who has won Golden Globe, BAFTA and WGA awards – not to mention his three Oscar nominations? We read it and instantly loved it.
Gavin: What made you decide to bring it to SLAC as the season opener this year?
The printed script starts out like this – “WARNING: This play contains profanity, smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use and gossip.” Such a well-written and clever script touching on so many taboo topics, it seemed a perfect fit for SLAC.
Gavin: Robin, what did you think of the play when you first read it, and what made you decide to come on as director?
I was intrigued by Sue Mengers. Partly because I knew her clients and movies she represented but I had not heard of her. And I was fascinated how she had made herself into the most powerful agent in Hollywood at a time when it really was a man's game.
Gavin: Considering the format, did you take any different approach in how you directed this particular piece?
The script analysis for directing a one person show differs a bit but you are looking for the same things - the arc, the build, the climax, the denouement. Also, I had to be super conscious of the five hour rehearsal block when there is only one actor - to expect one person to speak for five hours straight is not feasible!
Gavin: How has it been working with Camille to bring this play together?
I have worked with Camille once in the past but have watched her performances for years. I love working with her - I think we trust each other and having worked together before, there is a sort of shorthand we have. she is also a friend, so it's always fun to spend 32 hours a week with her! Her talent is huge - she is so amazing in the process of creating a character and is so sharp at taking notes and implementing them.
Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of the year?
I'm directing a children's touring show, LiVe
, that I co-wrote with Eric Jensen and Kevin Mathie, that is now on its 6th tour. And I'll be workshopping a script by Larry West for Pygmalion Theatre.
The rest of our 2014-2015 season includes: Rapture, Blister, Burn
by Obie award winning playwright Gina Gionfriddo. The Tony-nominated children’s show A Year with Frog and Toad
, based on the books by Arnold Lobel. A brand new play by local playwright and journalist, Elaine Jarvik, called Two Stories
. Mr. Perfect
, a world premiere by William Missouri Downs, writer of The Exit Interview
. And finally Saturday’s Voyeur 2015
, the quintessential parody of all things Utah by Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht.
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Don’t forget to attend a free reading of Cort Brinkerhoff’s The Vermillion Hand
on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.