Artistic Director Interview: new POV Site!

July 16, 2020

Conversations with David Kopacz & Usha Akella new "The-POV.com" MISSION:

"We are motivated by curiosity—about people, their points of view,professions, passions, and work. These people are shaping the world through their dedication to humanity. The-POV is a celebration of voices and visions making the world a better place."

Here are some excerpts from Ann Ciccolella, Austin Shakespeare interview!  

Ann C:  

 

Varied audiences also responded to our Bollywood Twelfth Night, and we are planning to create a new production of it again as soon as we feel safe gathering once more. But I would like to use many more South Asian and Indian actors in it. I’m planning to do some workshops to cultivate MORE South Asian and Indian actors. We have done shows like Tom Stoppard’s marvelous Indian Ink and connected with some experienced Austin actors as well as having brought guest artist Tamil Periasamy from Atlanta as the lead, who had done lots of Shakespeare but never played an Indian role before. 

 

Usha Akella: How did your work with youth begin and how is it different from working with adult actors? I’d like to hear about opportunities for youth you are creating.

 

Ann: I have been working with teens for much of my career, but 12 years ago when I became artistic director for Austin Shakespeare, I began envisioning forming an ensemble of teen actors who loved Shakespeare to produce a Shakespeare play each summer with a professional design team at Richard Garriott’s replica of the Elizabethan Curtain Theatre in Austin, off City Park Rd. We have felt successful by working with those casts with the same rigor of physical and vocal workshops we have done with our adult professional actors. Our demands have been high, and the teens rise to the occasion that Shakespeare demands.

 

 

Usha Akella:  Which brings us to the topic of actors, the marriage partners to the director in the world of acting. Can you talk a bit about your actors? How do you do your auditions? What are you looking for?

 

I love to get to work with new actors. We hold auditions at least four times a year always searching for new talent. We hold one set of auditions at the beginning of the entire season, and more for each of our three major productions. Keeping the door open to a diversity of actors has worked beautifully for us. Generally, we have half a cast of new people, and half of whom we have worked with before. In terms of style, I value actors who perform on a grand scale, yet they must also be truthful and honest—authentic and “in the moment.” So besides new folks, you will see some of our favorite actors again and again on our stages. 

 

 

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