An Interview with Austin Pendleton
Director of OrderA nytheatre voices cyber-interview
Austin Pendleton is the director of this new play. He is also an actor and a playwright. Austin has appeared in films and on TV. He is the recipient of several awards and teaches at HB Studio. Learn more about Order.
Pictured: Austin Pendleton*
You are the director of Oberon Rep’s world premiere production of Order. Can you tell us what you think the play is about and what is there in this play that made you interested in directing it?
I think the play is about the fact that any one of us, if the proper buttons were pushed, could go irreversibly nuts at any moment. Not that our nutsiness would be irreversible; it would be worse than that. The consequences of our nutsiness are what would be irreversible. This, of course, is not news. What is new, in Chris's play Order, is that this is a thing that needs to be looked at comically. Because from the very large perspective that comedy has we can see how helpless we fundamentally are in the face of ourselves, and how the fact that we keep this craziness we are helpless in the face of from completely, irreversibly overwhelming our lives is a matter of luck and not much more. Somebody said this about comedy once — I think it was the great critic Walter Kerr in his book called Tragedy and Comedy. Anyway, it's true. And Chris has had the brilliant thought, and talent, to wed this truth to this very disturbing question of latent pathology. And so I think his play is funny and disturbing all at once, and thus full of very many and different possibilities in performance.
Christopher Stetson Boal, the author, is an established playwright and Oberon Rep has been around for 14 years. What was the sequence of events that led to your becoming the director and have you had previous associations with Mr. Boal or the folks at Oberon?
I've seen Oberon's work since, I think, 2000 or 2001. They've done some remarkable work, and they are good and talented people. And I'm always moved and amazed by how these companies keep on going in the face of this very difficult city. I've seen two of Chris's previous plays in New York and I was struck by the originality of his talent and his voice. And by him — he is a fascinating guy. And I'm also moved and amazed by how talented playwrights just keep going, and growing,sometimes without the encouragement they deserve. I think Order is Chris's best play to date, of all his work that I know.
See the entire interview here