Caroline is a feisty teenage girl who has taken a leave of absence from high school due to a serious medical condition. At the beginning of the play, Anthony shows up in her bedroom to get her help on a school project which analyzes Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass. Caroline and Anthony’s encounter turns into a humorous and determined battle of wills.
What do you like about I and You?
The characters have a story that is spirited, combative, funny, mysterious and emotionally-charged.
What is most challenging/interesting about the play?
The most interesting part of the play is how the characters surprise each other.
What is your favorite part of the directing process?
Once the staging outline is set in, I love discovering the unpredictable behavior that reveals the characters’ personalities. There is no small talk on stage because everything means something. In rehearsal we explore how the characters need each other and how they approach each moment in their roller-coaster relationship.
How many aspects of the show have changed since your original plans?
No matter how thoroughly I prepared to direct the play, everything changes once the play is cast. I have no way of knowing in advance how the actors will work together or how they will respond to the challenges that I offer. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Victoria Fearn and Jabari Matthew on this production! They are young artists who have had excellent training, and they bring to the rehearsal intelligent ideas, bold choices and imaginative verve. Even though we only started working a few days ago, they have great chemistry together!
What makes I and You relatable to audiences here and now?
The story deals with The Big Questions concerning our greatest hopes and fears about life and death. Walt Whitman’s poetry is the catalyst for the characters discovering an extraordinary connection.
What types of conversations do you want the audience members to have on their way home from seeing this play?
I hope they will be discussing the meaning of the relationship between Caroline and Anthony.