Interview: AUTUMN director Skip Greer

Interview: AUTUMN director Skip Greer

Two of our artistic interns talked to the first director of the season, Skip Greer, about THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN and what he likes about coming to The Cape Playhouse.

What first drew you to the play or most excited you about THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN?

A couple different things. There’s the use of humor to open us up to a vulnerable place in intergenerational issues that I think is very honest in Eric’s writingDirector Skip Greer. He writes in such a gifted way of turning your humor on a dime and then opening up a trap door under you and you realize that you’ve actually been battling over something that’s very important and you’ve been laughing while you’ve been doing it. So there’s that and I think there’s also a beautiful use of motion and stillness and how important it is for us to finally stop every now and then and see what and who are really around us and that’s the part that probably moves me the most…Arthur Miller says that theatre is “ritual broken” and this woman has broken all ritual by forcing at least her world and therefore the ramifications of the world around her to stop and realize what’s important in the world, so those are some pretty good things.

How did you approach rehearsals for this play?

There are many different things that began to emerge when we started rehearsing the play but one of them is the gestation period for the actors: it’s just a two-hander so they have a lot of load that they have to carry. Because of the density of this material, you can only go about four and a half, five and a half hours every day before the brain starts to go to mush…So we had to limit that and allow the piece to breathe every day. Now when you take that and put it up against a short rehearsal process that can be a difficult and dicey situation. But [Playhouse Producer] Mark [Cuddy] was smart enough to work with everyone involved to make sure that there was a little more time than we usually allow for a show.

Even though I’ll take a ground plan of the set that we’ve designed and I will block out the entire show when I get into rehearsal, I will then change it completely dependent on the input of the other artists who are in the room and so what I do is try as hard as I can to make sure that the movement is organic to the motivation of each of the lines. And Beth and Dave are fantastic, so they’ve been such great detectives in terms of the developmental process of the piece.

Changing the subject a bit: what is something you like about coming to The Cape Playhouse?

It’s wonderful down there. It has a tradition to it and it has a spirit that says, let’s work on the art and do it not only as a group of artists, but also a community.

It’s wonderful down there. It has a tradition to it and it has a spirit that says, let’s work on the art and do it not only as a group of artists, but also a community.

There’s just this feeling of being very passionate over the course of the summer and I wish that I could spend more time there…I love it. I love the feel of the place, I love the smell of the place. It just feels like great, rich theatrical history. But it’s not like a museum, it feels like you’re becoming a part of that in creating your own as you move forward.

What do you ultimately want audiences to walk away from the show having gained or felt?

I have ideas going in and I’m sure [Playwright] Eric Coble has ideas going in, and so do all the other artists on the piece as well, as to what is or how you want the audience to be different or how what they’ve experience can be applied to their lives. There’s a lot in this piece that if you’re open will either alter or assist you in the lens that you choose to look at the world but if I say what they are then I’m basically saying ‘this is what you need to think when you walk away from there’, but I don’t want to do that. Everyone will have completely different things that they walk away with.