Director Rachel Levens took time out from HYENA load in and tech rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions about the show, directing a solo performance and her inspirations. Hyena plays The Club @ La MaMa from March 18 - 17, 2016.
1. How did you become involved with Hyena?
I became involved with HYENA after I received an email from Catherine Fulliox introducing Romana and I. Both of us worked with Catherine in 2014. I assistant directed Selma ‘65 by Catherine Fulliox, which had its premiere at La MaMa. Romana went to La MaMa Umbria’s directors and playwrights retreat where HYENA began. We have been working together on developing HYENA for the past year.
2. What are some specific challenges of directing a solo show?
I would say the greatest challenge of directing a solo show is that often times with solo shows the playwright is the performer. This means that some sort of departure from the role of playwright into performer or vice versa needs to occur. I think this gives the artist freedom to make choices when they are in performer mode and evaluate the words, and structure while they are in playwright mode. Solo performers also don’t have scene partners or they are transitioning between characters. In the case of HYENA the audience is actually Hy’s scene partner and there is audience interaction. This leaves us in the rehearsal room with a lot of unknowns, which is a scary and exciting place to be. The relationship between a director and a solo performer requires trust in one another.
3. What should audiences expect from the show?
The audience can expect to engage, reflect, and be unsettled.
4. Who has inspired you?
When I was a sophomore and junior in college I took an Interdisciplinary Arts class that required us to see shows at On The Boards in Seattle, WA. On the Boards is an organization that presents local, national, and international contemporary performances. Watching these performances and writing about my experiences and what I saw introduced me to a whole new genre of what performance could be.
5. When did you know you wanted a career in the arts?
As a child I was always a creative child and that urge to create never went away. I have always had a curiosity about humanity and wanted to be a part of spaces that created dialogue and social impact. I believe the arts have the capability to bring people together without judgment.
6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
Working at La MaMa means a great deal to me. There is such a rich history at La MaMa and the theatre has presented and launched such a wide array of artists. I feel like I'm surrounded by the history. I feel like I am apart of a family and the continuation of creating experimental theatre.
written and performed by Romana Soutus
directed by Rachel Levens
March 18 - 27, 2016
Friday & Saturday @ 10pm; Sunday at 6pm
The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors; a few $10 tickets still available for a few performances.
HYENA is one of La MaMa's #SpringSolos. See them all with a #SpringSolos Package!
For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE