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How did you get your start in theatre? I started at the age of 7; I was cast in a production of

Medea, a Greek tragedy, at the University of Washing- ton—this was not at all common. I was cast as one of two little boys killed by Medea. One day on the stage, I was shown around and told about the set. I saw the tape markings that represented where the stairs would go, so I knew I needed to pretend there were stairs there. I got it right away and I knew pretend is where I wanted to be. But honestly, I never thought this would be my professional career; I didn’t know anyone who grew-up to be a professional actor, but when I got into college I started taking it more seri- ously. I was an English major, but I studied theatre as part of my undergrad work. Then I went to visit my girlfriend in New York City, she was auditioning for a bit part in a play. I went with her to the audition and they asked me to read too. I got the part, she didn’t and that was the beginning of my career and the end of that relationship. That’s a fun story, the accidental Broadway actor. Well, that’s why I never tell my students that story,

it makes it sound too easy. Becoming a director was a much more conscious choice. I realized I had a mind and an eye for directing, went to graduate school and then started teaching and directing. What would be your best advice to someone starting out in the field? Say yes to everything, every opportunity—in time

you will discover what you do and don’t like. But say yes to everything because you never know where it might lead you.

You have been the Director of the Old Globe/University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program since 1993. There are three former MFA students of yours in this show. Yes and that is no mistake—this year marks the

25th Anniversary of the MFA graduate program. It seemed appropriate to me that it mark a return of

“There are some direct parallels to our current

dysfunctions in society, in government, our congress. The show has this

rather understated complexity; it is wild but it has a lovely underbelly to it.”

some of our graduate students; these are students who became professional actors and have come back to The Globe over the years. I’m proud that we have a number of very successful grads working on Broadway, in television and at large regional theatres. Jim Parsons [Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory] was one of my students and he was just nominated for another Emmy. Congratulations! I admire your passion for teaching. Who in- spires you? What is your favorite play or who is your favorite playwright?

My favorite play? The old adage is “the one I just

worked on.” You have to develop enthusiasm for the show you are currently working on. That being said, I am a big Arthur Miller fan; his plays are genuine, muscular, American and realistic. Do you have a signature, something you are known for as a director? Something that would make people say, “Ah, this is a Richard Seer play?” I am generally asked to direct shows that have

heavy-duty acting in them, a broad range of emo- tions. I am known as a coach and teacher, so I enjoy doing shows in a small intimate, round space where the audience is up close and can see all the facial reac- tions. It’s like watching a film in person, I call it three- dimensional acting and staging. Most acting is done in a non-realistic style, all of the audience is on one side, so all the action must face that direction—very one-dimensional. In the round, you can use more of the stage and as an actor you aren’t worrying about being upstaged or which direction to face. What are you directing next? Next season I will direct Other Desert Cities in April.

It’s on Broadway and we just acquired the rights. Any last comments on God of Carnage? It is definitely an adult comedy, not just because of

the use of strong language, but the verbal sparring. It’s “theatre of cruelty” in a fun way. I admire the auda- ciousness; it’s way out there explosive fun. A smart and sophisticated audience like yours is going to love it.

God of Carnage runs through Sunday, September 2 at the Old Globe Theatre. For tickets and more information call 619.234.5623 or go to

AUGUST 2012 | | RAGE monthly 19 AUGUST 2012 RAGE monthly

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