Q&A with director Ian Short
Tonight, Available Light Theatre’s latest production, “Cock,” debuts at Riffe Center Studio One. We caught up with director Ian Short on what’s behind this 90-minute faceoff between a conflicted man and the two people he loves. See our May issue for the full story.
How did this play come to Available Light Theatre, and how did you, as a company member, come to be its director?
We read a lot of scripts, and this is a great play. As a group, it spoke to our mission statement as far as doing theater that’s thoughtful and profound. It’s just a beautiful piece, an intimate piece, between four actors. [Founding artistic director] Matt [Slaybaugh] wanted a director, and I love the play, so it was a great opportunity.
This play, in a lot of ways, is an exercise in minimalism. As the director, is the lack of set and props challenging or liberating?
The playwright wanted no set, yet when the characters have a dinner nothing is to be mimed. So there’s a “talking heads” challenge. But the reason [the minimalism] is so effective is it forces you to focus on the actors. Our minds fill in the blanks. We see the dinner party. Also, how the characters move is key. It won’t always match what the actors say they’re doing. The movement is often very in the moment.
This play is also unique in that it has a very small cast. Can you talk a little bit about the actors you’re working with and what they bring to their roles, specifically David Glover as protagonist John?
It came down to chemistry. David brings a vulnerability to every role he plays. His characters, there’s always something going on behind his eyes. There’s a sadness. Elena Perantoni, who plays W—she is very physically fit, very athletic. Her physicality lends itself to her character, who has this strength both outside and inside. But M, who dominates the relationship with John, could very easily be the bad guy, and Drew [Eberly] can play to that. But he brings a sense of sarcasm, and also, at the same time, M loves John very much. Drew plays to those strengths.
From left to right: Drew Eberly as M, David Glover as John and Elena Perantoni as W.
Image courtesy of Available Light Theatre