1) Tell me a little about the play. What drew you to it?
The play is about sex, murder, mayhem, madness. It’s a familiar Jacobean tragedy, between “dark comedy” and tragedy. It’s like a late-night horror version of Shakespeare; people are dying on account of love, passion drives them to extremes no one could foresee.
There’s no moral or philosophical stance I’m trying to foist on spectators. It’s an adventure in excess, which is what I like about Jacobean drama. There are a handful of texts in world literature where a woman and a man are locked in a struggle to the death through passion and this one stuck with me. I wanted to build a world around that that would sustain that relationship.
It’s midnight madness theatre where spectators are shocked, startled, and emptied of the darkness they brought in with them.
2) This is a classic Jacobean play, “one of the best” according to one source. What do you think of that designation? What kind of responsibility do you feel toward the text?
“Classic Jacobean text” is an oxymoron really. They are classic in terms of what they do, not necessarily the beauty of the writing. My responsibility is to help the play speak to an audience, not in the play’s time, but in my time. I see my responsibility is to immerse myself not so much in the period of the writing but the feeling, the theatrical psyche. I need to make it as theatrical as possible. The theatrical event should have a visceral effect—make the blood pump faster in both the heart and the head.
3) Any other influences on your approach to directing the play?
Some influences I can’t tell—but you’ll see them. Anything I direct is influenced by film and music. It’s an amalgam, the influences are absorbed, so it’s hard to say where they begin and end. It should be recognizable as Spencer Golub, not as its influences. Just like the most important part of writing is rewriting, directing’s most important part is redirecting. It’s about determining what’s worth keeping in collaboration with the actors. Talking about influences may be a bit of a feint. You allude to them to create a tension that undoes them. I’m looking for things to react to or against rather than ascribe to or reinforce.
4) Why The Changeling now?
For me the question is actually, why at all? Relevance is never a question I ask. It’s not “because of society or the turn of historic events.” The play speaks to something inside of me… or that may just be self-delusion. It’s a play I wanted to stage because of that relationship as opposed to a particular protagonist. It’s going to be a dark ride.
-Interview conducted by Michelle Carriger