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Interview with George Wethington, 8/20/89

Teka Ward: Today is August, 20,1989. My name is Teka Ward. I'm interviewing George Wethington. We're at apartment number eleven at 1330 South Sixth Street. Our topic is Actors Theatre of Louisville. You work at the scene shop? George Wethington: No, I'm the House Manager, I also do telemarketing. I'll be doing different things with the theatre as the season goes along. TW: When did you start working at Actors? GW: Last year. TW: Like -- what month? GW: October, I think. TW: And what did you start as? GW: House Manager. TW: What is the House Manager? GW: The House Manager is basically you're in charge of the house, which is everything but the stage. So, I'm like in charge of the ushers, the sessions, and the- a lot of things fall under it. You know, I start the show, I say when 1:00the show starts. I do the calls and tell people that, you know, "The show starts in 15 min- " you know, first call and second call, last call. And it varies from show to show what the particulars of my job are. Like we'll have a show this year that'll have simultaneous translation, so I'll be in charge of the head sets and stuff, which will only be for that show. TW: Tell what the name of that show is. GW: That's "Chinzarno." It's a Russian comedy, a contemporary Russian comedy. TW: And it's being shown as part of the- GW: Classics in Context Festival. The Moscow Art Theatre's going to perform it for us, coming here. TW: How did you get your job at Actors Theatre? GW: My wife works there. TW: And what's her name? GW: Lin. L -- I - N. TW: And what does she do? GW: She's a director of operations. TW: So this means you work at the part where the Pamela 2:00Brown is, and at the Victory Jory- GW: The Victor Jory's my theatre, I do the Victor Jory. TW: You do both, but Victor Jory is yours. What was it like during the Humana Festival? GW: I only did a few shows. Last year I basically- I did two shows, all the shows, then I did matinees. Humana Festival is no big deal except for the VIP weekend. And then you're dealing with people that are- expect certain things that aren't necessarily going to happen. So, yeah, there are problems but it's, you know- I've found that problems end very quickly with what I do, they don't last very long. TW: Are you from Louisville? GW: I'm from Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, which is like thirty-five miles south of here. TW: 3:00How long have you lived in Louisville? GW: Roughly eight or nine years, something like that. TW: Did you meet your wife here? GW: No, I met my wife at college, at Centre College, and I went to school in Louisville. I went to St. X. TW: Even though you're from- ok, so you're- GW: I commuted every day. TW: From Lebanon Junction? -to go to St. X? GW: Right. But there's not a high school in Lebanon Junction, so even to have gone to the public high school I would've had to commute to Shepherdsville every day. Which is like fifteen miles, half the distance kind of. TW: So what days do you work at Actors? GW: Well, see I do different things, so now I'm working in the evenings basically. I occasionally now that the season's beginning to start I have to go in for meetings sometimes with different people, about house managing. And I'm working on the phones at night, telemarketing. And then when my shows start I'll have to work every show 4:00in the Victor Jory. I will occasionally have to come in during days for stuff, and like I say I probably will do other jobs with the theatre during the coming season. TW: Do you deal with Sandy Speer or with Marilea or who's your- GW: I can deal with just about anybody. My immediate superior is James Rommer. TW: And his title is- ? GW: Uh- Director of Budget and Management? Something like that- I'm not really sure. TW: How do you like working at Actors Theatre? What do like about being involved with the theatre? GW: Well, see, it's basically a learning experience for me now. Just to learn about theatre. I'm a writer, so the theatre is both, for me, a source of income, period, and educational. That's why I try to do as many different things as I can down there to learn as much about 5:00theatre as I can. TW: Do you write plays, or fiction? GW: I write fiction. I'm also a freelance writer. I occasionally take on projects that interest me, or have some financial incentive. But I don't write for newspapers anymore, or advertising, or anything like that. The zoo thing that they're talking about, I'm the writer for that. TW: Right. Tell about the zoo proposal or the zoo work that you all are doing. GW: Well, it's still up in the air. Tomorrow's the big day that we present it to the zoo and they, I'm assuming, will fairly shortly thereafter, at the time, give approval of the budget. So I really, until tomorrow, I really don't feel- I'm basically looking at it like it's not the real yet, although we've all done a lot of work on it. But it's basically a kind of theatrical thing, kind of an amusement park type thing, and ??? the train ride there. TW: It has to do with Halloween? GW: Right. Halloween, that's right. 6:00TW: Do you all do other freelance work together? GW: This is the first time I've done anything with the theatre people, but, you know, things might happen- I'm not averse to the fact- I'm the- I don't know how to explain the way I am. I basically do things to either for money, or for credit, or for education. So, you know, it depends. I'm not going to just do anything. I don't want to work in, like, PR and write that kind of stuff. So, it just depends. Something like this, the zoo project, I'm comfortable with, you know. So, I'm a- It's kind of 7:00fun and it's not something that I feel like I'm compromising my goals with writing to do. That's a problem when you freelance you develop bad habits if you just do stuff like newspaper writing and PR stuff, your writing starts to take on that character and you can't help yourself. TW: As a writer, then, what do you think is the importance of Actors Theatre's Humana Festival? In terms of what it does for new playwrights? GW: Well, that's constantly changing. Now it's getting more geared toward established writers and as far as I can tell, like last season there was not a single play done for the Humana Festival that hadn't had some kind of performance before. So now they have that one-act contest, or 8:00whatever, but they don't produce it, they just have a run-through of professional actors reading it, so it's more than just getting you friends together to read your plays, but it's not like there's monetary incentive or- That's just- The Humana Festival for me is the most exciting part of the theatre, Actors Theatre. When it's over you're sad that it's over. The other part of the theatre that sometimes can be just as exciting are some of the apprentice projects. They- TW: The Apprentice Showcase. Is that what you are thinking of? GW: Well, the Apprentice Showcase has potential from one to the other, and there are certain things, and they also have the apprentices do- Well there was one production that was like ten-minute monologues that the apprentices have to write themselves in for form, you know, each one of them. And they actually write that down to two shows, because there's usually about 9:00twenty apprentices. And, I'd say this past season, outside of a few Humana Festival productions, well, even including the Humana Festival production that was the most satisfying things. One apprentice actress, Gretchen Clagin, did a very, I thought it was very very good. Her monologue was like- I thought was extremely well written, and the performance was really good. I don't know what other people think, but that one performance to me was as good as anything that was done. And I saw most of the productions last year. I didn't see "Beehive" or "A Christmas Carol" and there were some that I worked that I never sat through, but I knew them pretty well. TW: Discuss some of those plays. GW: Well, uh- TW: Like a synopsis of the play. What it was like. As a theatre. Like "The Tempest." GW: Well, "The Tempest" you know, it's- the story's well known: the tempest, 10:00shipwrecked survivors on an island, although it was all planned by Prospero, the wizard, and you know- turns out to be his- "The Tempest" is funny because if you make a synopsis of "The Tempest" it doesn't really sound like very much. But basically I think most of the people at the theatre were disappointed in "The Tempest," for a lot of different reasons. I myself was disappointed because I had been looking forward to it. I'd never seen a Shakespeare production with a big budget, and it was interesting and educational for me, but it- I really couldn't highly recommend it to anybody. Well, it's hard to put into a- One of Jory's things is he likes--which I- I'll preface this by saying that I admire 11:00it, I think it's a good way to be--is that he likes theatre to be like going to a circus, or, to put it in contemporary terms, almost like a vaudeville, with people, you know acrobats on a high wire, I think is his common example. You know, pyro techniques, it would be a pleasurable experience. And he did that with "The Tempest." That's what he came into the theatre with that attitude and it's nice to know that now, you know, twenty years later or whatever, he's still doing it. But, you know, plays are different when you- You can't when working at Actors Theatre just go into the theatre and watch it as a patron. It's impossible. Because you know--you've gone to rehearsals, you've seen and you've 12:00heard talk about like conflicts between a director and maybe certain actors, you may have even seen them, with the scene shop they had a lot of problems with "The Tempest," building it. You know, you just know all that stuff and you come in and you can't. Now I started going to the theatre with my wife, and so I was just a patron at first and I got turned off to the regular faire pretty quickly. I'm a pretty- I have very eclectic tastes in just about everything, but within all the different types of things I like I'm pretty demanding. I'm not just satisfied with what they do, it's not challenging enough for me, and although I 13:00like what Jory's attitude about making it a spectacle, I don't feel like most plays that that's possible, most of the plays they do now. With the advent of the Broadway Series and the Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the success of it, they've had to compete with it and move away- they do more musicals now and I think we've got two musicals planned for this year, we've got two musicals, two comedies, the two festivals--the Humana Festival and the Classics in Context Festival--and the Shakespeare play. That's the main stage subscription and you know, you get past the festivals and the Shakespeare play and you've got two comedies and two musicals. It's not exactly challenging. I like to be challenged 14:00when I go to see anything, whether it's a musician or a film or a theatre playing. That usually doesn't happen. The one thing I can say is that the sets at Actors are always great. I don't always enjoy looking at them, but I can always tell that they were done professionally, I mean to the highest standard, and that the designer Paul Owen is a real asset to the theatre. And I had that impression right when I started attending the theatre regularly, that the only thing you could count on was the sets, so- . I don't know, it's hard for me to be objective. I go to the theatre now to learn, and it doesn't really matter what they're doing, to me. There's something to be learned about how it's being done. And that's what I go for, that and the social aspect too. That runs really 15:00high at the theatre and you have to confront that, ultimately, when you start hanging around Actors Theatre. Well, it's just a little bit different. Theatre people, and I can say this because although I'm slowly becoming one, I guess, they just have an eye for detail and appearances and things--you know, if you wear certain things, well anything, you can have an effect at the theatre. All the things that are true with any social scene or clique, are more heightened at the theatre. It's not like it's any different, when you get right down to the basics of what goes on, it's just the same as any place else, but theatre people 16:00are so conscious of appearances and most actors and actresses are very attractive people, most people that get involved in the theatre are very attractive people, and they usually have money behind them too. And it just makes for a mix that is a little bit different than any other clique or social sphere that I've ever been in. I was around theatre people in college, I went to a small college and did things, acted in a play- TW: This is Centre College? GW: Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. TW: All four years- GW: No, I didn't go all four years. I went three years. TW: And which years- What years were they? GW: Uh- seventy-eight to I guess eighty-one. TW: And you majored in? GW: Art, English, and French. So, you know, that's why, finally it just got to be too much. But I was around theatre people then and I didn't really like it. But it's such- It was a smaller clique at Centre, and Centre's not really a theatre 17:00school. Although, actually, there are like at least four of us that went to Centre that work at Actors Theatre now. There's some new guy, I think he's in props now, I don't know if he's a job-in or a real hire. I think somebody told me he went to Centre. There's a carpenter who's a job-in who went to Centre. My wife went to Centre, and ??? . Sandy Speer went to Centre too. TW: I'd forgotten that. GW: I don't think he graduated either. TW: He went to UofL. GW: Yeah. Uh- so, you know there's- But anyway the reason I brought it up was, It's just a little bit different, and not that Actors Theatre--I'm sure Actors Theatre is nothing like a theatre in New York, or a place like that, because the town has a lot to say about the way it is--but definitely it's kind of fascinating just to 18:00wonder what all's gone on the whole history of Actors Theatre, because it- people are really aware of things that don't--I don't know how to put it--they're aware of what goes on socially. But when you live in Louisville for very long it's easy to get comfortable and homey and Actors Theatre does have people who have worked there a long time. So that plays it down. But you still have this influx of new people at a time working on shows and the apprentices every year. They always contribute to the social thing--there's twenty of them and they're all, you know, desperate to prove themselves, and they're usually, you know, well, you know. After you've interviewed a few actors you'll start to get the picture that's the way they are. And I don't mean it in a negative way, 19:00they can't help what they are. It comes with the territory. But the theatre scene is a- it's not any more interesting than any other scene but a lot of things happen during the social times that influence what goes on. Connections are made, and so forth, just like in any other scene, but I guess it's true a lot of people like what James was talking about before we started this interview: moving around a lot, people come into town, they work at Actors Theatre and they don't know what all is going on in town. I've found that when I show people stuff that goes on in Louisville, or they meet new people through me, they really like that. They like getting away from the theatre. But they don't get away from the theatre unless they have somebody like me to do it. I mean, some of them do--the longer you're here the more likely to--but basically, 20:00especially with the actors that come in and the tech people that just work individual shows, they stay at the theatre and that's where they're- And that heightens the whole social thing too. It's definitely a factor at Actors and a lot of things get done or don't get done because of social things that shouldn't influence things. But in fact I've said that's true in most places, the difference is Actors is a little bit more closed group. Course a lot of groups are very closed but another thing is its theatre people, and they have this tremendous- They're constantly looking at things. They're constantly seeing things, and they have an eye for what's going on and a lot of posing goes on, 21:00done by professionals, at posing, you know. So it's pretty interesting. But it's not like it's- the bottom line with the theatre is producing things, putting on shows, and the social stuff is, it's not really a factor but you really can't undermine it because as far as I'm concerned everything I've done at Actors Theatre has been through social mechanizations, whether conscious or not. I got the job because people knew me and my first job I got because of that, and it's just ballooned from there. I wouldn't be working on this zoo project if I didn't hang out with these guys. Because they wouldn't know I was a writer if it wasn't for hanging out with them. I mean I'm not prepared to write for the theatre, I 22:00mean I would do a play but I'm not gonna- There's a lot of writers that work for the theatre that I think stick around and play the social games and the work games hoping they'll get produced, one of their plays will get produced, but I don't think it works that way. I mean it occasionally it does but I'm- you know, if I write a play I'm not looking at it to be produced at Actors Theatre. TW: Since you work at the Victor Jory do you think experimental plays really do get put on up there? Or- How would you characterize the plays up there, on the second floor? GW: Well, I would say they're basically plays that they feel would not attract a big enough audience to justify putting it on in the Pamela Brown. "Les Liasons Dangereuses" is not an avant-garde play. It's got a French title, 23:00and maybe they think that would scare your average Kentucky theatre goer away. I don't know if that's fair or not, but it's not an avant-garde play. Now in the Humana Festivals sure, but it's the same way, down at the big theatre. I'd say the most avant-garde plays of this past Humana Festival were on the big stage. TW: Give a little rundown of those Humana plays. Like which- GW: Well, there was- I'd say the two most experimental work "Tales of the Lost Formicans" and "God's Country." TW: Talk about those. I saw those. GW: Well, everybody has different feelings. I thought both those were real good plays, for me. "Tales of the Lost Formicans," I'd read the script for and I was really hoping that seen on stage would be better than reading the script, but it wasn't a lot better. So that was like disappointing. A play should be a lot better than reading the script. But it was a good play and it did get put on in Finland, invited to come 24:00over to Finland and do it. So, I mean, it was recognized as a real- I think Time Magazine's reviewer said he thought it was the best one. It was a good play. "God's Country" everybody had mixed reactions to and to me, the reason that the play was so invigorating was because it raised a lot of aesthetic questions. Should a play be a documentary? And if a play is a documentary should it be about some event that is still going on, that hasn't been resolved? There were just so many things about it that raised aesthetic questions, not whether it worked or if it was right or wrong, but should you even do this in the first place? Is it right, or wrong? That challenges you, and that's what I look for. "Bone the Fish," which was up in my theatre, the Victor Jory, it got a lot of press for being that way, but it really wasn't. It was just a comedy and flashy. 25:00It was an excellent example of what the scene designers do. If you saw that, I mean, it was incredible. That was the main show, just seeing how ??? could fit all that incredible stuff in this little space. But- TW: And how it could change before your eyes. You saw it move. GW: Yeah, during the show. But I'd like to see myself, you know, that they keep doing plays like "God's Country," and "Tales of Lost Formicans" every year because they're going toward these established writers and none of the established writers they've gotten so far, which like next year maybe- maybe it'll be E.L. Doctorow and Tama Janowitz- Neither one of them--and I'm not a great admirer of E. L. Doctorow--neither one of them are going to put on some challenging theatre production. I'm not 26:00expecting it. Maybe they will, but you can't just come in cold from writing fiction and do something that only a theatre person- they don't know the limitations and what to challenge. I know this from my own thoughts about it that it's just really hard to do and no play that they've done yet by a real established writer in another field has challenged at all. And usually when they try to they fail. So that's why I would like them to keep, you know, since they're going in that direction of getting these new writers, which is exciting and it definitely generates publicity for the theatre, raises aesthetic questions- the brunt of it is, you know, some really good stuff could be lost to 27:00challenge and they were definitely taking a chance if not with "Tales of Lost Formicans" or with "God's Country" of offending a lot of people. And they did offend a lot of people. And basically I think that's great because a lot of people in Louisville, they're getting used to Actors pandering to the mass and they're also got the Broadway Series and Louisville's, I'm finding out more and more all the time, is a great theatre town. All things considered. But there's only one place in town that can do an experimental play with the money that they need, and that's Actors. TW: Why do you think "Tales of the Lost Formicans" didn't come off for you? GW: Well, it came off, but- TW: As much as you hoped it would. GW: Well, I had a real bad personal experience during the middle of it with my wife, so that affected it, and then I think actually, I think the next 28:00day we agreed to get separated. So I can't say, you know, that that play- You know I can't judge it. I mean, something was going on while I was seeing it- Not like we were arguing during the play, but you know, I had other things on my mind. TW: That ??? talking about that- GW: I'd read it already, see and it was a real minimal set, which didn't bother me at all. I kinda liked the set. And there was at least one actor in it that I thought was really really good. TW: Which one was that? Who played- GW: I know his name. He played many parts. He was in "God's Country" too. Uh, Jonathan- TW: Oh, uh -- is he smaller and has kind of curly hair? GW: He's not smaller- TW: Was he the one who was the man 29:00next door who she kept trying to- GW: No, no, no, that's Bob Morrissey. He's blond, he's- Jonathan Freed's his name. Jonathan Freed. Yeah, I thought he was really good in it. But, somehow things were missing from the play that- You know, when I read it I read it like, "Boy, I gotta see this play." But then when I saw it, it was like more pronounced the things that were missing from it. I don't know how to put it. I liked it, I liked it a lot, but I wouldn't categorize it as a total success. I don't know. TW: What about "Stained Glass"? GW: I didn't see "Stained Glass." TW: What about "Blood Issue"? GW: Yeah, I saw "Blood Issue" and I liked it. TW: What about "Autumn Elegy"? GW: I didn't see "Autumn Elegy"? TW: Do they let you see these for free? GW: Right, I could've into those, but there were different reasons that I didn't. TW: And they show 30:00you the scripts? You have access to the- GW: Yeah, I get them different ways, though. I haven't done it through the proper channels yet so I don't know what the deal is. I just, you know I'm around people who have the scripts and I just borrow them, or just read 'em. I've just read "Chinzano," it's not the translation we're going to use, but- I guess my wife, yeah, I got it from my wife and read it. It's only twenty-nine pages long and they charge twenty-five dollars to see- TW: What about the rehearsals? Did you say you sit in on those sometimes? GW: Yeah, last year the only one I really sat in enough to get a real good feel for it was "The Tempest." TW: What was that like? Sitting in on a rehearsal. GW: Well, it's great- TW: I've never done that. GW: Yeah, just keep moving. Don't sit in one place because if you don't really involve you- If you don't have to be there you might draw attention to yourself and distract people. Like Jory definitely noticed me sitting there and went up and said something to 31:00me. Not bad, but it was like he was noticing me being there and he was wondering why is he being there. Usually if you are doing what I'm doing it means you've got your eye on doing something and you're wanting to get more involved or whatever, or you're really interested in it. I think he was just feeling me out really. I don't think he'd even remember it. But I do because it was so- It kind of shows how the social thing is. They just notice things. Somebody like me, I'm like that too, but I'm not around people all the time. I can do things at the theatre and be confident that they have an effect on somebody. If I could do it in some other social situation and the way I was standing in a corner would have no effect. Somebody might notice it but they wouldn't be reading things into it, but the theatre--and it goes on all the time--and any time you do anything on purpose to have an effect you're almost guaranteed that it's going to. It's just 32:00real easy. I decided I was going to get a job in the theatre, you know as soon there was an opening was going to happen I quit my other job. I needed a job, and I just started going to everything because I could. Because of my wife, you know. And I'd been to things before and she's always trying to get me to go things. And I just did and I started meeting people and I pretty much- And it worked. It's still working. I'm still getting places and, you know, I'm real conscious around the theatre, about the way I dress, more than I am at other places. Not that I'm going to dress up, but it just has an effect, you know. I can think of, like with Robbie and ???, we went to the apprentice staff softball game you know and it was raining and I was saying, "You know how it's gonna be, we were gonna play, no body's gonna be there, I think it'll probably be like 33:00maybe some crazy apprentices that still wanna play cause they're so fired up about it. And then a couple of guys standing around sayin' well, you think we should play? No we should play. And we pulled up and we were late of course and they were already started playing in the rain. And I'm like, "This is too ridiculous." And so I get out of the car and I had my umbrella with me because I'd walked over to Robbie's just like, grab your umbrella man. So I did, put it on, and it worked. I mean, every one of them noticed it and it made them feel stupid, you know. Nobody said anything, it's just that way, I mean, it's that way everywhere else too. But the theatre you just, it's just guaranteed. You're not guaranteed anywhere else like you are in the theatre. And if somebody comes in that's a real player at both type of games, well then the sky's the limit, I guess. I mean, you know, course then you start talking about all the sexual stuff and soap opera type moments that go on, you know, that stuff goes on 34:00everywhere. And it's not like every little corner of the theatre, like in telemarketing is like that. It's not like that at all, it's older ladies, a few people like me who are just doing it for the money, like a part time job, then high school kids. So it's not like that at all in telemarketing. But in- When you get closer and closer to the production end of it the more it's like that. And basically people in the theatre, unless they're like Jon Jory or Sandy Speer or Marilea, that have long term jobs at one place, they're very very- they get involved in relationships that they are committed to, but they can't do the work and keep them because they're not- the person lives on the West Coast, or in New York, or- they just don't live together or- you know everybody has a girlfriend or boyfriend somewhere else, at the same time they're seeing other people here. And it's just like- I guess that's something a little different. That kind of 35:00stuff it never ends and the only time it ever ends is when somebody either gets a job like Jory, or something like that, where they're there for twenty years and they're in that town and solid, or they retire. They get out of theatre and go live on a farm somewhere or get another job. It's- I'm not saying everybody in theatre is mean spirited, or sexually gregarious, or whatever, but it's a lot of beautiful people who are professional posers and most of them are outside the main stream. They are, you know, more experimental types of people willing to try new things, challenge conventions, and uh- I don't know. I'm basically interested in the theatre for professional reasons and I'm basically learning about theatre, to help my own creative career, and maybe ultimately finding a 36:00place for me in the theatre as a financial and a satisfying thing. Not at this particular theatre but in the world of theatre. And I haven't done that yet and I don't know if I will, you know. So basically the main motivation is educational as it relates to my being a writer. Hopefully, you know, maybe something will come out of it more. And that's what I'm interested in. That's why I spend most of my energy at the theatre ??? figuring things out, what's going on, how it happens, when it happens, who makes it happen, who makes it not happen, whatever. But I could go on and on about the social thing in the theatre. As a writer- Most writers are this way, you just get sucked in, just notice that stuff. I'm a watcher and I just- And the funny thing about it is is that actors and the technicians, the- sometimes it seems like they're in it the least and who it affects the most are the outsiders that aren't really theatre 37:00people that start working at the theatre, like in the box office, or in the bar, or like my job, or something like that. They get drawn into it and they end up being- It's just, it's real funny. It's a really- I don't know really how to describe it. But that's one of the main things I've gotten out of the theatre, it's just this incredible pressure to perform in public, you know. And I am not a wallflower type, but I'm basically a watcher and I don't get involved and, you know, I don't make- I make friends easy enough but I'm kinda shy, I'm not really super outgoing. But at the theatre even being that way it's seen as a pose. I've always had problems with people thinking that I was being too cool, or arrogant, 38:00or something, when it was really just me being shy, or whatever, you know. And at the theatre it's even worse because people immediately assume that I'm being arrogant and standoffish, or that I think I'm better than everybody else, or that I'm- there's some purpose behind what I do, when it's really just me basically uncomfortable in crowds, you know. And I don't want to make it like I have no social skills or whatever, because, you know, sometimes I think I don't, but I really do, but obviously I've done good enough. But it just never ceases to amaze me what theatre does to people. You really get sucked into it and it's good and it's bad that it's like that. TW: So you think there's a lot of appearance and reality going on? GW: Excuse me? TW: Do you think there's a lot of appearance and reality? GW: That's what theatre people get confused. They don't know. They don't know. Because all they ever do is appearances. TW: Do you 39:00think people get hurt who come in and don't really know what's going on? GW: Well, I'd say that I probably did some. You know. Yeah, I'd say for sure. I don't think it has to be that way but if you're going to get into that world and start being a player, or whatever, in that world, then yeah, the potential's there. Basically I don't think anybody's mean spirited as a rule, in the theatre, or anything like that, it's just like- well, like with Actors, they are so especially real pros, have done it for a while. They're actors. They make their lives from acting, and nobody can just separate their job from their social life and at the theatre it's really hard to do when you're just coming in and the only thing you know is that that theatre and that's where you spend all your time for a month or a month and a half, so they end up acting all the time, you know. Now, I'm sure not able to tell where the line between reality and appearances is. I don't know. TW: Do you think Actors Theatre has a national identity? A stamp? GW: It's supposed to. TW: What do you- GW: I don't know. TW: 40:00Do you think it's known for its Humana Festival? Do you think that's what's given it its name? GW: All I know is new people come in, younger people come in every year, and they think the whole season's going to be like the Humana Festival. So I guess that's true. And they're usually rudely awakened when we do something like "The Nerd," or something like that that's, you know, total opposite of their picture of- Yeah, it's definitely given the theatre an identity, and the theatre- What people don't realize is that just having the Humana Festival, that's it. That gives you identity, and you're doing it and every year you try to do it, but you gotta fill up the theatre the other seven shows and it is Louisville, and all that, and- I mean I don't even think it's even so much being in Louisville, but- Yeah, I would say that. But I'm not really prepared- I mean I don't really know what the theatre's- I'm still learning about Actors Theatre. I can't answer questions like that. From what I'd 41:00say, Yeah the Humana Festival is definitely the thing that we're most recognized for but that's also in circles of people that are theatre people. Outside the theatre I don't know. TW: What about the Classics in Context? Do you think that will develop more and more into something In Louisville? Getting more of the arts involved? Or what do you- ? GW: Well it's already got most of them, so I can't see it growing a whole lot more. Basically I don't know what I think about the Classics in Context festival. Ever since it started, which is like a year or two before I first heard it coming, I just can't say. It's good and it's bad to me. It's not like the Humana Festival and like from an educational standpoint, well yeah it's great. But I'm not sure what my feelings about the Classics in Context thus far. I just can't say. TW: Would you say that Actors Theatre 42:00represents all the people who work there as an institution? Or do you think it's guided by say, the Board of Directors, or- GW: Jon Jory. I mean he doesn't do everything, but it's his baby, I would say. From my impressions it's, you know, Actors Theatre and Jon Jory are hard to separate. I don't mean that in a negative way at all. I think it's impressive what he's done. But I'd say, Yeah, Actors Theatre is Jon Jory. I don't think most people that work for Actors Theatre- Well, I don't know about that thought. Basically, yeah, that's who I think Actors Theatre most represents. TW: Do you have any plays that you've seen here that stand out your mind? GW: Well the best one that I've seen, probably still, has been- Well, I don't know, I can't say that. I enjoy the Classics in Context, the Pirandello festival, "Six Characters in Search of an Author," I 43:00thought was good. There was like problems with it. I thought the ending that Jory tacked on didn't work. And I think that setting it in Louisville was kind of a little too cute for my taste. But I'd still say that it was one of the better plays that I've seen, for me it was a pretty challenging play. But the Humana Festival- The Humana Festival and the way people identify what- it's the time when you really feel like you're doing something. It's something- It's really busy, there's something like seven plays going on, actors everywhere, job ends everywhere, everybody's field, everybody's upset about something. But that's when the magic happens at Actors Theatre, the Humana Festival. Like I say, that's- When it's over you're glad it's over, but you're kinda sorry it's over. And I can say that because I'm new, still, to it. The hardened people 44:00don't feel that way anymore. TW: Do you have anything you'd like to add to this interview? GW: No, there's really, you know- I just let you ask the questions because I don't feel like I've got anything to add to the oral history of Actors. Maybe ultimately I will but- I'm just like a- I see myself like an apprentice at Actors right now. I'm just learning the ropes and maybe I'll use it and maybe I won't but it'll help me in my other work. The theatre, like I said, is a fascinating environment to see what people do, how people act, and it's influenced me a lot in that regard. I'm planning on some day writing a play with the intention of it being produced and the novel I'm working on now is part 45:00of it, It's set in a theatre and that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been at Actors Theatre. So yeah, it's influenced me a lot, and like I say, I look at myself as a novice, an apprentice. I'm still learning, there's still a lot to be learned. You know, this time next season I'm hoping to have done a few more jobs and have it and who knows from there, but I don't look at Actors Theatre as like an end to itself, it's just kind of I lucked into it and once I did I realized that I had- there was a lot of things that would fill the void in my life. I had not- The only creative people that I've been around were artists I knew from college or from before, or writers, professionally, and Louisville is not a great hotbed of literary talent, and so Actors Theatre is kind of like a hot 46:00think in Louisville so it's like all of a sudden I was around really creative, talented things going on and that gives me a charge and it motivates me to want to do it. When I see other people making artistic decisions and having them realized it has an effect on me. I want to be that way too, you know. So the theatre, basically for me it's- I don't know, like I say, I don't see myself as an Actors Theatre person. I just lucked into it and made some friends, and I'm just trying to take advantage of that. TW: Thank you very much. GW: You're welcome.