Sunday, October 23, 2011


Sylvan is "empathic!" Tamilla is "inventive"! Rachel Leslie is "powerful"! Polly Lee's "coiffed discontent evokes Julianne Moore in “The Hours” and “Far From Heaven” " and "a versatile supporting cast sprints through a variety of races and genders... “We are in history now,” one character says as the simmering tensions finally burst loose near the end. When “Nightlands” is at its strongest, it reminds us that that statement is always true."  said The New York Times. So, I had to ask Tamilla Woodard (congrats, Tamilla, by the way) some questions.
Polly Lee and Rachel Leslie, Photograph: Carol Rosegg
Photographs: Carol Rosegg

Ana: When you first read the play (and while working on it's development) what was your main interest/ attraction?
TAMILLA: The section of the play called the RIOT was from the beginning a very curious and attractive element of the dramatic structure. I took a lot of clues about how the play works from how the play structure gets destroyed in the Riot. I love that destruction. I like it when the rules are subverted.

Ana: And what were you most afraid of?
TAMILLA: I was afraid about my choice to have such a paired down, sparse environment and style. I am attracted to sparten approaches in general. Sylvans language is lush, rich, The situation is very dramatic. I wanted to make a counter balance to that so we as an audience could really hear, really see, really feel instead of just being told. A great distance exists between these characters. That's something our audience can also feel. That great gulf. That loneliness. That distance between human beings. Ironically, the most emotionally impactful section of the production is the Riot. Because we don't try to act the riot. Or rather, we try and then we give up and then just commit to being. I was afraid that I was not giving enough room to the chaos, too. Chaos can require THINGS and we don't have much stuff-- just bodies and voices in space. Just two chairs in the midst of a wide white canvas. Every single gesture made in front of that canvas gets picked up and amplified. Beautiful things and very messy things. I'm afraid of the messy things.

Hubert Point-Du Jour and Michael Milligen, Photograph: Carol Rosegg
                                   Photographs: Carol Rosegg
Ana: Can you tell me a bit about the role that – the  absence of objects/ presence of sounds - have in the show?
TAMILLA: I wanted to give the audience more to do. I want them to lean into the play, lean forward, add their own imagination. Acknowledge that this is not real life, nor are we trying to convince anyone of that. Perspective is very important as a theme. Who gets to tell a story, who owns the narrative? This way the audience has participated in the story making to by filling in more blanks than they normally have to do.

Ana: What is the connection between 1964 and 2011?
TAMILLA: Ohh. We are now in a very combustable time. Riots breaking out everywhere-- protests. The old order is being challenged in the same way that it was being challenged during the Civil Rights Movement. Like IVY says at the end of the play-- We are in History Now. And this is History making itself around the world. 

Polly Lee and Micheal Milligan. Photograph: Carol Rosegg

By Sylvan Oswald
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Linda Marie Larson, Polly Lee, Rachel Leslie, Michael Milligan, 
Hubert Point-Du Jour

Jim Findlay, Stephen Arnold, Hillary Charnas, Emily DeAngelis

psm Michal V. Mendelson asm Matt Hundley prod mgr Robert Ingram
choreographer Nicco Annan asst set design Rachel Schapira 
casting Paul Davis/Calleri Casting press rep David Gersten & Associates

Wednesdays thru Mondays

at HERE 145 6th Avenue 
(enter on Dominick, 1 block south of Spring)

Sundays pay-what-you-will (at the door only)
tickets: or 212.352.3101
info/group rates: 646.336.8077

more info all the time:

This project received support from Full Stage NYC at New Dramatists, a program made possible by New York City’s Theatre Subdistrict Council and Time Warner. 
This production is a part of HEREstay, HERE’s curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support. 

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