Thursday, February 09, 2012
I Interview Artistic Directors Part 7: Chad Rabinovitz
Hometown: Eldersburg, MD
Current Town: Bloomington, IN
Q: Tell me about Bloomington Playwright's Project.
A: The Bloomington Playwrights Project is the only professional theatre in the entire state of Indiana focused solely on new plays.
Q: How do you create your season?
A: We have two playwriting contests that are set in the season each year: the Woodward/Newman Drama Award and the Reva Shiner Comedy Award. Our literary committee which is comprised of about 30 readers go through the hundreds of submissions. Each one ends up on my desk and I either skim or read through each one (depending on the ratings from the 2 previous reads) and ultimately select a winner in each category. I then work with agents to find a new musical each year. I try to stay up to date as much as possible on what's going on in NYC for our Off-Broadway/On-Ninth slot where we produce a second or a third production of a show that premiered in the NY area. And finally I commission playwrights to write on a common theme in partnership with Indiana University.
Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as an artist or as a person.
A: Senior year of high school I was president of the drama club (after having known what theatre was for a whole year at this point) and always tried to plan trips for my group to various theaters. At this time in my life I had never seen even a community theatre play so I was super excited to be scheduling them. Well my principal decided that I had gone on enough field trips so he turned down my request to rent a bus and go an hour north to Baltimore to see Les Mis. So I raised all the upfront money I needed on my own and did it anyway, separate from my school. I sold every ticket and seat on the bus.
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: More new plays. I fear theatre is becoming a museum and that we're not training our audiences to take risks.
Q: If you could change one thing about your theater, what would it be?
A: We just finished a $100,000 renovation of the entire theatre and had our Grand Re-Opening a few days ago, so for now I think I'm perfectly happy with it. But ask me next week and I'll tell you that I want to enhance the lighting system.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: New Plays! I love plays centered around a unique idea or told through an original plot structure.
Q: What plays or playwrights are you excited about right now?
A: Laura Wade, Amanda Rogers, Henry Murray, Christine Whitley, Barton Bishop, Michael Lluberes, Jeremy Schonfeld and many more. I'm really excited about our theater's upcoming production of Three Views of the Same Object. The script is incredibly innovative and groundbreaking.
Q: What do you aspire to in your work?
A: To continue to be fortunate enough to be able to do it for a living.
Q: What advice do you have for theater artists wishing to work at your theater?
A: Submit. I can't produce a play that never comes across my desk. And keep your cover letter/synopsis short! I'm more likely to get excited about a play with an intriguing synopsis that keeps me wanting more than a list of all the plot points in the script.