We’ve got two tickets here for the first reader who emails us with their name and the night they’d like to see the show!
Appeal theater writer Richard Ciccarone gives lie to the cliche, “those who can’t do, critique.” When he’s not covering shows for the Appeal, he’s mounting his own productions, like his latest, The Lady Macbeth of Martinez. Being a (relatively) ethical news organization (hey, we have a Conflict Policy!), we pulled Richard’s hands off his keyboard and tried our best to blindside him with some gotcha! questions about his trailer-park-set, Leskov inspired play.
Wait. I thought you theater types tried to avoid saying “Macbeth” because it’s all bad luck and shit. How do you get around that in staging this show?
We have an airhorn. Whenever someone says his name I blow it. It’s a little shocking the first fifty times or so, but then you just accept it. Actually, it’s quite relaxing after prolonged usage. Although now I can’t hear.
Why on earth are you doing this, directing and writing and producing this all by yourself? Are you a crazy control freak? A glutton for punishment? What?
Neither. I just don’t have enough money to pay anyone to direct my plays. Or produce them. I guess this play is a direct result of the fiscal crisis.
The play sounds nuts: Spanish dance, slasher films, tele-novellas, sitcoms, talk shows, and Russian novels are mentioned in the release you sent. Tell us some of your influences (or whose style you’re biting) in this show.
I find the idea of mixing various disciplines to support a central idea fascinating. As long as it’s not done just for the sake of it and you can justify your decision, I think it’s a great way to tell a story. One of Shakespeare’s earlier plays, I think it was Timon of Athens, was originally set in a roller disco and it worked fantastically!
Have you ever lived in a trailer park?
I did! I was broke and I “borrowed” a mobile home and lived on the grounds of the California Shakespeare Theater while I stage managed one of their shows. I had to run electricity from the festival into my mobile home with an extension cord. If there are any kids reading this, don’t get a degree in theatre. Be a doctor or a lawyer. Those things usually don’t happen to doctors or lawyers.
The story is actually based on a Russian novel entitled “The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk“. I wanted to keep the alliteration and set it in the Bay Area. So there was Millbrae, Martinez, and Milpitas in terms of towns that would retain the economic profile I was seeking. No offense to Martinez, but it just seemed right.
If I want to convince someone who announces they they hate theatre to go to this, what do I say? (Do I bother?) Is there an easy “if you like x, you’ll like Macbeth of Martinez?”
If someone hates theater, I’d probably lie to them and say we’re giving away free stuff – like 49ers tickets. But if you like to watch plays that are emotionally charged, have a great story, and are visually enticing, then do I have a show for you!