EH There’s this old Mark Twain quote that
she’s like “Oh, you cheated.” That’s kinda how
the purpose of art is to alleviate shame. I
I feel. It’s why Steppenwolf (Theatre Company)
always thought that was an amazing line.
has been able to achieve the level that they
The purpose of acting in many ways is to get
have, because they are a band and they stayed
inside somebody and to be so truthful and
together and they know each other on a cellular
honest about what motivates them and what
level. I enjoy off-Broadway, because it’s a place
makes them tick to the point where people
where you don’t have to worry at all about
can see aspects of themselves in it, and when
commercial pressures. And you can really, really
they recognize those they won’t feel so alone.
focus on ideas. It’s a place where you can really
And that’s the mission of great music and any
kind of great art. So, character has something to do with a value of humanity. I kinda fall in love with people and everybody’s different struggles. It’s funny, whenever I’ve worked on
JPB What kind of projects do you have planed for the future, and how do you plan to dig deeper?
Shakespeare, I have this amazing realization,
EH The truth is, for me, the future is now. This
our experiences as people feel so different and
play is something we’ve been talking about for
so unique all the time. But what’s amazing is
a couple years. There’s nothing more exciting
how consistent they are, whether you’re a king
than giving birth to a new play. So one of the
in the goddamn 15th century or whether you’re a high school student today, so much of the real need of life is the same. I don’t know if that’s what your talking about. But character is such an elusive thing. I mean, what
What is identify and what is personality? They’re kinda big questions.
There’s nothing more exciting than giving birth to a new play.” -Ethan Hawke
fantasies in my life is to be part of a group of people that originates a great new play. JPB Do you feel that’s what’s happening in your group right now? EH Well, that’s the aim. You know, it’s like what did it feel like on opening night of Streetcar? What did it feel like to originate Death of a
JPB Tell me about The New Group, you've been
Salesman? What was it like to work on the first
with them for a few seasons now and they've
production of Iceman? And for me at this time
offered you a chance to direct as well as work
there’s something very radical and punk rock
with some old friends on the stage. Can you
about doing theatre at all. We live in a world
talk about the community element of The New
that’s all about maximizing sales potential and
Group and your place in that community?
everyone’s got a camera on their phone. So a
EH I’ve always felt that there is great value in
living art form like the theatre is a real throwback.
building on working relationships, where you
It’s something that you can’t quantify and sell.
have the opportunity to get somewhere really
If you miss it, it will not be on YouTube. There’s
deep. We have a lot of shared passion for the
something that’s so beautiful about that to me.
theatre. Kind of a funny story, when Meryl
It’s like I’m a Luddite or something. It’s funny,
Streep came backstage to see HurlyBurly and
as I see the world getting more technologically
she came back stage and asked Josh Hamilton
advanced, I see the place of theatre getting even
and I about our rehearsal process and how we
more secure. There’s nothing like going to a rock
show, that kind of feeling that you’re really part
what she just saw. When we told her we’d been working together since we were eighteen,
DECEMBER 2010 | WWW.ENCOREMAG.COM
of something. And that’s something the theatre can do for you when it’s really good.*
Encore Magazine - New York City