Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Laurie Rae Waugh: The directing of this play came by way of a conversation with the playwright Meny Beriro at the 75th Birthday Party for Mr. James Jennings the Artistic Director of The American Theatre of Actors. Meny let me know that James had already read it and all it needed was a director to get it produced. Meny sent me the play and I loved it. What struck me was the choices that the characters had made or have to make throughout the story line. I always take on projects that touch, move and/or inspire me. The subject matter of the play is what touched me. The loss of a father is what moved me. Even though I didn’t lose mine at a young age, I can still relate with the character.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Waugh: I am a very organic director. I have a vision of how the play should look and I give the actors the freedom to play and explore. I break the play down into beats and work the different sections with the main actors and then I add in the other supporting actors until we have gone through it several times before running it all the way from begin to end. Once we have worked for a week or so on different aspects of the play, then I get the actors up on their feet to move about the stage.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Waugh: The subject matter is relevant to today’s issues about abortion. The main character wants to have the child and her boyfriend doesn’t. This is a hot topic in our country especially in this election year. The difference between pro-life and pro-choice. We get to see both character’s journey through the play and what they ultimately decide.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Waugh: Well it brought up a lot for me around loss. I lost my mother to cancer even with her going though 6 rounds of chemo. My father had a stroke and spent another eight months holding on until he passed away. I share myself, my experiences and additional stories with my actors so they can see what I connect to in the script and how they might use my stories to enhance their character’s journey.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this?
Waugh: I really enjoy working with original works and being able to have the playwright come and sit in on some rehearsals to get his feedback. I am always excited to get to rehearsal to see what new layers the actors add to their characters.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Waugh: I ultimately would like to see a diverse audience who can relate to the different themes that run throughout the play. I would like to see our audience be touched by the relationship that has been forged between the 2 characters (Susan and Fred).
I want to continue to work with original plays and get involved with the different festivals in the city. I also want to branch out and work with other theatre companies within the tri-state area.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Waugh: This is a really good question because what I enjoy about the play may not be the same for others. I enjoy the connection between the younger and older generation and how they relate to the same situation.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Waugh: I will go right into rehearsal for a full length play called Family Matters written by Irving Greenfield which opens on May 18 and runs to May 29 in the Sargent Theatre at American Theatre of Actors.