by Rose Desena
This work is described as a sexy, savage, darkly comic (and very modern) take on the battle of the sexes, a psychological thriller. So, clearly it’s not about finance, lenders and borrowers and collecting on debts in the monetary sense? I was intrigued to find out more about this production, and to learn why the title of this play is a bit jolting, eliciting thoughts of a “debt collector.” But, perhaps it means “creditors,” in an emotional sense? Even more intriguing! I love a good psychological thriller, so I spoke with the director to get his take on it.
David Trainer has worked with some of the best actors in the American Theatre. He directed “Foxfire” on Broadway and at the Ahmanson Theater, with a cast that included Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, and Keith Carradine. Los Angeles audiences may remember his previous work with Jack Stehlin, when he directed the critically acclaimed “More Lies About Jerzy” by Davey Holmes for The New American Theatre.
Television audiences will recognize his credits as an accomplished director for series such as “Designing Women,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Cybill,” and “That 70’s Show.” Now he is at the helm of this co-production for the popular Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and New American Theatre. It will run through December at the Odyssey Theatre on Sepulveda.
Rose: So this is billed as a Psychological Thriller, just out of curiosity are you a Hitchcock fan?
David: I am a Hitchcock fan. And Hitchcock is a shrewd reference for “Creditors,” which is sly and funny, menacing and intriguing, just like the best Hitchcock movies. And the end is startling, too.
Rose: This searing update of Strindberg’s play will make modern young romantics cringe. What attracted you to the play?
David: It’s fluid, fast, and complex, filled with extreme thoughts and feelings, yet always apparently effortless. I thought it would be great to create that experience for an audience.
Rose: What was the most challenging part of directing this piece?
David: Strindberg thought most plays were written for one crucial scene, so why not leave out everything else? “Creditors” is five acts of plot in 95 minutes. It’s swift. Learning to make that swift ride crystal clear– that was a wonderful challenge.
Rose: Do you think Strindberg translates well to modern American audiences, or would most of his work benefit from updated translations/adaptations?
David: Strindberg put extreme, passionate, vigorous, smart, funny characters in intense situations, and let them go at each other. The best translations sound like real people actually talking. David Grieg makes them sound like people you could hear in the next room.
Rose: What do you think Strindberg was trying to say in this play, and does David Greig’s version stay on point that way?
David: Strindberg was a dramatist, not a philosopher. David Greig’s translation is so tight and spare, muscular, witty and smart– the drama just pops.
Rose: What do you hope to see audiences take away from the experience of seeing this production?
David: I hope they say– that was a blast, what a great ride!
Thanks David, I am really looking forward to this. Thanks so much for the time.
The Los Angeles premiere of David Greig’s celebrated new version of
The Odyssey Theatre & The New American Theatre
Opening on October 11, 2013
Friday October 11 at 8pm, Saturday October 12 at 8pm,
Sunday October 13 at 5pm (reception to follow Saturday performance)
Runs Wed & Thurs on select dates, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 2pm through December 15, 2013
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tickets are $25-$30 ($20 for students, seniors, and Guild members
except on Sat., $15 on Fridays. $10 minimum on ‘Pay What You Can’ performances)
For reservations call:
(310) 477-2055 ext 2 or please visit www.odysseytheatre.com.