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fre·mo·cen·trist (f'mō-sĕn'trĭst) n. one who deeply believes all in the universe revolves around the Seattle neighborhood of Fremont - fremocentric adj. see Kirby Lindsay
           
       The Archives: Published October 29, 2010 - The Fremocentrist
Robinson Directs Stoppard At Stone Soup

by Kirby Lindsay

At Stone Soup img1For the first show of their 2010/2011 season, Stone Soup Theatre will present two plays by Sir Tom Stoppard, The Real Inspector Hound and The Boundary.  Performances will be held Thursdays – Sundays, October 29th through November 21st.

Zachariah Robinson will direct the pieces - “I do like Tom Stoppard’s work,” he said – as his second and third directing jobs at Stone Soup.  “What I love about directing is the challenge,” he explained, “to help the actors discover the vision.”  Inspector Hound, Robinson described as a spoof of the works of Agatha Christie, and a parody of theater critics - a job Stoppard once held.  The Boundary, written by Stoppard and Clive Exton, originally started as a special project for a BBC television show, and showcases Stoppard’s incredible gift for language.

Being True

Robinson has, over his 19-year career, worked as both an actor and director.  At Stone Soup, he performed in Durang7 last fall, and then directed Clothing Optional, a center piece of the One-Act Playwright’s Festival, in the spring.  He has found it easier to get acting work, he said, which he enjoys, but directing has, “always been my main focus.”

“More people want to act,” he acknowledged.  Yet, staging a play takes a number of actors.  The casts of Inspector Hound and Boundary include Katie Beudert, Matt Fulbright, Daniel Guttenberg, James Lyle, Conner Marx, Rebecca Parker-O’Neil, Deanna Sarkar, Luke Sayler, and Jordan Williams.  With so many actors, to one director, the odds increase for finding acting work.  Also, he remarked, “it’s hard to get jobs as a director until people have seen what you’ve done.”

As an actor, he once had an opportunity to audition for a part in Inspector Hound, and didn’t go.  He read the play then and, as an actor, he didn’t understand it.  When Stone Soup Artistic Director (and Founder) Maureen Miko offered him the job as director, he re-read the work, “and I got it!”  He admitted, “I wouldn’t have taken the gig if I didn’t understand it.”  Ultimately, he said, as an actor or director, “you have to be true to the story itself,” and figure out, “how to be true to the script.”

A Literate Audience

At Stone Soup img2

Robinson studied drama in Indianapolis, and did summer stock in Ohio.  He has worked in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and even Sydney, Australia.  Yet, growing up in the Bay Area, he said, “I always knew I’d end up in Seattle,” and, for now, “I don’t have any plans on leaving.”

From his work in other places, Robinson admitted, “L.A. is a great film town, but not a great theater town.”  After New York and Chicago, “in my opinion, Seattle has the third best theater community in the U.S.,” he said, “and one of the largest independent film scenes in the country.”  Seattle also boasts, “one of the most literate communities,” with intelligent audiences, who don’t need to be beat over the head, a fact he accounts into his direction.

“The space itself does have some challenges,” Robinson allowed about Stone Soup which has two theaters – one small and the other smaller - but, “from my experience, Maureen [Miko] is really good at picking pieces that work in the space.”

Also, a small theater, he pointed out, “creates an intimacy with the audience.”  In larger auditoriums, he’s had the actors move through the audience to draw them in and give a sense of closeness that, he explained, “helps make the audience part of the experience.”  For Inspector Hound, “because it is a play-within-a-play,” as Robinson described it, performed in a small space, “the audience will be sitting on the stage.”

To become witness to, and a part of the action, as well as enjoying an evening of Stoppard - as presented by Robinson and his talented cast – be sure to stop by Stone Soup before November 21st.  Tickets can be ordered on-line, or at the door, with Thursdays being pay-what-you-can.  See you there!


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©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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