Interview by Jean-Claude van Itallie - One Act 2013

3rd Place
Maine Class B State Drama Festival

Special Commendations:

• Ensemble Acting Award
• All-Festival Cast: Axis Fuksman-Kumpa
   Griffin Graves & Ailish Fahey


Class B Champion
The Eastern Regional of the Maine Drama Festival

Special Commendations:

• Ensemble Acting Award
• Lighting Design Award - Samantha Robinson
• All-Festival Cast: Axis Fuksman-Kumpa, Max
   Swann & Ailish Fahey

PHOTO: Chris Dougherty

MDI Drama's entry in the 2013 one act competition is Interview: A Fugue for Eight Actors written by avant-garde playwright Jean-Claude van Itallie and directed by Casey Rush. Interview premiered in 1966 as part of the America Hurrah trilogy, widely hailed as the watershed play of the sixties. This short play is at turns absurd, hilarious, and unsettling. In what one critic calls a "Hurricane of Horror," four jobseekers are ricocheted through ludicrous job interviews, chilly urban parties, and coffin-like subways as they search for human compassion. Interview's stark reflection on modern technology, bureaucracy, social institutions, and war in the 1960s proves eerily relevant fifty years later.

Regional Fest judge's scores and selected comments:

Aynne Ames (95/100): "A challenging, sophisticated, engaging, well-executed production... beautifully realized."

Harold Withee (97/100): "Impressive body control and internal acting."  "Great ensemble work - smooth transitions and very clear intentions.  Each character very specific and the cast worked seamlessly to produce this throughline." "Visually exciting to watch.  Beautiful pictures and wonderful use of space."  "[I] loved the risk-taking and execution of this production."

Barbara Helen Baker (98/100): "Movement, timing excellent..."  "Exceptional lighting..." "Perfect costuming..." 

State Fest judge's scores and selected comments:

Kym Dakin (97/100): "Precise, meaningful facial expressions." "Characterization was well-crafted and clear...powerfully executed and consistent." "Effective, creative use of simple elements." "Terrific use of group and singular staging." "Extremely powerful piece, well-executed." "A powerful rendering of a bleak and static world. Excellent portrayal of emotional elements and status...jarring cruelty and vulnerability fully communicated. Excellent ensemble work."

Allen Adams (97/100): "Each movement was precise and purposeful." "Clarity reigned, even during the chaotic overlap moments." "No actor abandoned character, regardless of who was the focus." "Each player embraced his or her moment, then returned seamlessly to a supporting role. The togetherness of this ensemble is what powers the show." "The piece was understood by all, the director clearly had to convey some sophisticated ideas to the actors and it worked." "Choreography was a joy to watch, seamless togetherness. it accentuated the piece beautifully." "One of the most unusually striking shows I've seen. Choreographed exquisitely." "The grey sameness of the color palate accentuated the piece to a 'tee.' Striking neutrality." "The sense is of an 'organic machine' -- a well-oiled one at that." ""It's the sort of egoless acting that makes for great ensemble work." "Building spaces with the bodies of actors can be risky, but here it worked wonderfully."

Sandra Cyrus (95/100) "Well-rehearsed, well-choreographed." "Great use of lighting." "Makeup very effective." "You had some powerful dramatic moments that resulted from the cast being so synchronized." "The whole piece was engaging and made me feel consistently uncomfortable and on edge, which I believe was the desired effect."

Performances in the Higgins-Demas Theater:

Saturday, March 2 @ 7:00 pm

Friday, March 8 @ 9:00 pm (Regional Drama Fest)

Wednesday, March 20 @ 7:00 pm (Black Rose Arts Showcase)

The Ensemble

Emily Butler
Ailish Fahey
Jacob Frankel
Axis Fuksman-Kumpa
Griffin Graves
Sam Robertson
Max Swann
 Raven Walczak

From the collection America Hurrah (1966)

Synopsis - The set for Interview consists of subway stairs upstage and eight gray blocks that function as set pieces. In the first half of the play, four interviewers for an employment agency interview four job seekers; there are two men and two women in each group. The Interviewers wear clear plastic face masks. At the start of the action, the First Interviewer, a woman, greets the First Applicant. As she solicits information from the First Applicant, three other Applicants enter, so that the Interviewer has to speak with all four Applicants simult
aneously. She is joined successively by three other Interviewers, all of whom address the assembled applicants simultaneously. Once all four Applicants and all four Interviewers are on stage, the pace of the action accelerates, occasionally to the accompaniment of dance music. Applicants and Interviewers speak simultaneously or in rounds, and engage in a square dance. At the end of the interview, the Applicants jump up on the Interviewers’ backs, jump off, and then leapfrog over the Interviewers. Following the interview sequence, each character performs a soliloquy, while the other seven impersonate elements of the background of the scene. The Fourth Applicant, for example, becomes a woman lost in New York City trying to find Fourteenth Street, while the others become passersby jostling her and refusing to acknowledge her requests for assistance. In each soliloquy, the character describes a disturbing experience while referring to himself or herself in the first person. In the last moments of the play, these characters seek assistance from a politician running for office, but they threaten to assault him when he offers them only evasions and platitudes in response to their pleas for help. The scene dissolves into chaos, as the characters "lurch about the stage," speaking their characteristic lines. The play ends when one of the Interviewers arranges the characters into a line. Marching in place, they repeat the lines "My fault." "Excuse me." "Can you help me ?" "Next."


Casey Rush,
Dec 1, 2012, 10:04 AM
Casey Rush,
Nov 2, 2012, 6:10 AM
Casey Rush,
Dec 4, 2012, 8:46 AM
Casey Rush,
Nov 27, 2012, 9:11 AM
Casey Rush,
Dec 4, 2012, 8:48 AM