With everything else in the world seeming to go to shit in a handbasket, I am pleased to say that the future of theater is in GOOD HANDS!
Brian Reager and Kayla Santos are part of the young and talented production team steering the ship in off the WALL productions’ newest play, Hoard. As Co-Director and Stage Manager respectively, Reager and Santos became fast friends while studying theater at Marymount College in Manhattan. Now, as part of a creative collaboration between off the WALL productions and nancy manocherian’s the cell theatre, they are working side by side, preparing for Hoards' rolling world premiere starting on March 6 in Carnegie, PA, and continuing on April 2 in New York City. These two stylish and energetic 20-somethings caught up with me last week to share their thoughts on their jobs, the show, and all things theater.
MB: Marianne Bayard
BR: Brian Reager, Co-Director and Dramaturg
KS: Kayla Santos, Stage Manager
MB: Brian, what has it been like working
on Hoard, a brand new, never before produced piece of theater?
BR: It’s been a lot of fun… like with all new plays, what’s interesting about them is that it’s always like a puzzle you feel like you need to solve by the end. So with new plays and new writers and new characters and with the actors that are involved, you never really quite know what it is until you get in a room and you start playing with it and trying things out...You can do a lot of prep work but then as soon as you go (into rehearsals) it seems to all go out the window..it’s exciting and scary at the same time.
MB: Kayla, what exactly do you do as stage manager?
KS: I’m in the room with Brian (the director), the actors, and I am keeping track of blocking - writing down all the staging. I’m also the liaison between all the designers. If we are doing something and we're like ‘Oh! She puts a tape in her pocket in this scene’, then I’m like alright costume department we gotta make sure that her pants or whatever she’s wearing has a pocket because she has to put it away. Or we need light in this area of the stage… just communicating because the designers aren’t in the room.
MB: The set is so cluttered. How do you manage it?
KS: It’s been fun keeping track of all of the props that are being thrown away over the course of the show. I have a little map that I made for myself of where we hide all the props and made myself a little checklist, because they get thrown in garbage bags and end up in various places throughout the show. And then reset at the end of the night… I love stuff like that.
MB: What excites you about theater?
KS: ...Connecting with other people... having some sort of catharsis, projecting your own things onto something that's happening on stage and maybe having some sort of release for yourself. Or seeing parts of yourself or somebody else that you know in a character or have some clarity about it, exploring things that are hard to talk about. (Theater) is a way to experience...Live storytelling is so important and magical and one of the best parts of being alive. I feel grateful that I get to be in a room and I get to work on those things every day.
Reager and Santos are both smart and charismatic people with kinetic energy and heartfelt opinions about theater and its purpose in society. At the end of our interview (we went back to the theater and sat on the set of Hoard) I asked them pointedly, why didn’t they set out to make TV or film or art in some other medium, one that might pay more and/or have more viewers? This is what they said:
The future of theater is indeed in good hands.
Join us this week for the opening of Hoard on March 6.
March 6 thru March 21
Tickets @ insideoffthewall.com
Pittsburgh's alternative theater company
equal, diverse, inclusive