Review Fix chats with Laurie Rae Waugh discusses her upcoming production, P.O.W. detailing the creative process, goals and her future.
About the Production:
The secrets of a war from long ago are brought to light in P.O.W., a new play by Irving A. Greenfield, directed by Laurie Rae Waugh, part of the American Theatre of Actors’ Cutting-Edge Summer Series, Wednesday – Saturday, June 7 – 10 and June 14 – 17 @ 8:00 p.m. Sundays, June 11 & 18 @ 3:00 p.m.
Ms. Waugh has become synonymous with tackling intimate dramas with sensitive subjects. In this drama, a college professor and former Vietnam Vet reads a short story to his class that alarms the Dean of the Department; enough so to facilitate his arrest and subsequent trial – for his life. Our country’s morals are on trial with this distinguished academic. Celebrated character actor Ken Coughlin portrays the professor. Featured in the cast are Amy Losi, Victoria Christi, Anthony Gallo, Alan Charney, Mike Durell, Nick Pascarella, Harrison Friedman, and Teddy Montuori.
The American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 W 54th St, New York City. Tickets available at (212) 581-3044
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Laurie Rae Waugh: I had directed two other Irving A. Greenfield plays in the last two years and this was the next in line. The play P.O.W. is a very moving and powerful play in that it deals with life and death issues for the main character Sidney Pollack around the Vietnam War. The play brings back strong feelings from both sides around our involvement in that war or should I say conflict. I felt that the story parallels what is happening in the world today.
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, I give the actors the freedom to play and explore, and ultimately the actors through my comments and suggestions get to my vision. We spend time talking about the play. This way the actors know my thoughts about their characters and I know where they are coming from with their characters.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Waugh: The subject matter is relevant in today’s world about war. The main character writes a short story about a day with his platoon in Vietnam and reads it to students and other faculty. He had to make a choice of taking a life to save the lives of others or…. This was a hot topic in the 60’s and 70’s in our country as it divided many family and friends during the Vietnam era and how at a young age you had to make a decision between life and death for the men in your command.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Waugh: It brought back the memories of the 1970s, the draft and how glad I was that my brothers were not drafted. It reminded me of how divided this country was. I visited the Forgotten Warriors- Vietnam Museum in Cape May to ground myself in that time period, by looking at pictures, reading letters and talking to those who run the museum.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this?
Waugh: I love being a part of a well-written story. The subject matter is thought provoking and the cast and I have had many a conversation about it. I love working with Irving, as he is very willing to adjust the script as needed. I feel honored telling this story and trust that we have done it justice.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Waugh: Bringing people together around a very volatile time in our history and see how they react. Having people discuss what the play means to them. Making a donation in memory and in honor of those who served our country during the Vietnam War.
Review Fix: What do you think the audiences will enjoy the most?
Waugh: This is a good question because what I enjoy about this play may not be the same for others. The realism of dialogue for one. The truth of the story telling. I also think the play will bring up feelings good or bad about the Vietnam War.
Review Fix: What is next?
Waugh: I will be directing a play that was a one act and now is a full length with a name change. I am also looking at two other projects.