Kara Stacey Merrin

PMD Productions presents Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a comic tale written by renowned Hollywood actor, Steve Martin. In between performances, Anna Lozynski interviewed the play’s director, Kara Stacey Merrin.

Kara Stacey MerrinWhat can audiences expect to take away from this piece?
This play paints a very real picture for any person with great aspirations in life. It is about being on the verge of something big in our lives, yet not being able to quite pin down what that something is. We think of Picasso and Einstein as extraordinary men who shaped the twentieth century. We forget they were regular men, who had extraordinary ideas.

And of course, the audience will leave singing "Tah rah rah BOOM dee ay, Tah rah rah BOOM dee ay"

Which scene in the play did you find most difficult to direct. Why?
The first 10 minutes, as it sets the tone for the rest of the play. All I had was Steve Martin's interviews on the web, and some knowledge from having grown up with his movies. I would have loved to have seen him at opening night to ask him what he thought of the production.

What was your reaction to the script after your initial reading of it?
I laughed out loud the entire first read (and every read after that). I could see each of the characters off the page and couldn't wait to find a creative group with which to work.

How did you and the cast go about learning about the historical characters, which are the subject of the piece?
Fortunately we have a couple of walking encyclopaedias in our group, which is always helpful! But we all researched the characters to find a common ground to start from. Once the characters were embodied by the actors, the characters inevitably became something new. We worked with physical theatre during rehearsals to build the characters from the feet up (quite literally).

What did you do after opening night?
I caught up on lost sleep from the past three months.

Once the season finishes, what will you miss about this play?
Someone once told me, a production is a reflection of where you are at in your career. It is what it is and then you move on to the next project. I have really enjoyed working on Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and currently have new plays ticking away in my head. So there's no time to miss the play, it's onto the next big adventure!

Finally, what made you pursue a career in theatre direction?
When I was a little girl, I used to line up my dolls on the sceptic tank in our backyard and perform to them. I guess this was the start of my wanting to create worlds on stage that my friends, family and I would enjoy watching.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile plays at Chapel Off Chapel until November 7, 2009. Further details»

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