I believe in the question, “Why are we doing this play here and now?” I want to participate in a necessary theater - one that we feel we must experience in order to make sense of our lives.
A commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinarity guides my directing process. I lead with the intention to create the space for truthful narratives to emerge, to make theater that is generous without being patronizing, sincere without being sentimental, and pleasurable without being complacent. I'm interested in making theater that is sustainable to produce and inclusive to all audiences.
From developing and producing the work of nine-year-old playwrights at The 52nd Street Project to incubating the work of playwrights of color at The Providence Black Repertory Company, I've always been guided by a passion for nurturing and championing new plays and playwrights. My favorite projects have been ones other artists have brought to me, saying "I don't know how to do this, but I know I have to. Can you help?" The fierce urgency of my collaborators to tell their stories guides and inspires me to discover the unique process and aesthetic that will best bring that project into the world.
Because the art and artists that I care about are wildly diverse, the diversity of our field is a key passion for me. This is challenging but critical work if we want our field to be at the vanguard of a changing culture. In every community, theaters should be the most equitable and inclusive places to work, the most generous and welcoming places to visit. Theater has the power to shape and challenge ideas, and to inspire civic engagement through live, communal witness. We can amplify often-silenced voices. We can challenge false narratives. In counterpoint to the intractable and repetitive stream of mainstream news and social media, we can offer the surprising, the delightful, the transformative.
As an Armenian-Jewish woman, with 20th century genocides on both sides of my heritage, I am very aware of the human tragedies that repeat throughout history and geography. When these forces encourage us to view others with suspicion and hostility, I believe that a performance represents a space where we – artists, audiences, citizens – may come together to practice curiosity, compassion, and generosity towards other human beings.
Banner photo by Lewis Wheeler: Our Town, a site-specific reading at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian