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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, December 1

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Since 1999, Anthony Moseley has been the executive artistic director of the award winning theatre-based artist collective, Collaboraction. Director of last year's critically acclaimed production of Guinea Pig Solo by Brett C. Leonard; Moseley is again occupying the director's chair for Collaboraction's latest effort. Described as "a hilarious comedy that not only examines the quintessential adolescent themes of isolation, young love, and the intricate social hierarchies of high school, but also dares to ask larger questions about life, love, classism and prejudice," the World Premier of Robert McEwen's The Pull Toy (and His Paisan) jump-starts Collaboraction's first ever subscription season, and runs June 8 through July 9 at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave. Dedicated to a paradigm of evolving entertainment, Collaboraction has received 14 Joseph Jefferson Citation nominations and four Citations. Visit for more information on Collaboraction's 2006 season.

Q: I remember reading an interview with an actor who claimed that acting is a lonely craft. I can't imagine acting as being a lonely craft at all; but I could, on the other hand, see a director feeling very isolated — alone — in his or her work. Which have you found a lonelier craft, acting or directing?

Moseley: I would say that acting is a lonelier craft because you are alone in your head while everyone is observing you. It can feel like an existential island. When directing, you are actually taking what is in your mind and constantly sharing it with people, and this dynamic (coupled with the fact that you are the leader and final decision maker) makes you the idea hub, so everyone is constantly coming to you with ideas, questions, conerns, etc. On the other hand, acting has a very public sense of reward and accomplishment and, at least for me, the directing reward is a very personal and intimate one.

Q: I hope this isn't too nutty of a question, but at what point as a director do you decide to not get bogged down any further in the nuances of a play's language? At what point do you trust that a play's language has been satisfied — served? Or is this an altogether elusive thing?

Moseley: It is elusive, but that comes with the quest for perfection in art. You pick a great play that speaks to you on a personal level, you get obsessed with finding the best cast possible, then you work the hell out of every single moment and at some point, if you have the right cast and production team and you work smart enough, the play starts to spread its wings and fly and then you grab a lawn chair and watch it and say, "Whoa, how'd that happen?"

Q: As guided by its name, Collaboraction has always striven to persevere as a conception of live theatre's evolving possibilities. Do you believe that you direct any differently for a Collaboraction production than you would for another theatre group's production?

Moseley: As a director, I am always serving the play and the audience first, that's just how I see it, so that doesn't change whether it is a Collaboraction show or not. However, I do believe Collaboraction's sensibility, work history and audience allows for a great deal of creative risk-taking and openness, which is an incredible environment to make work in. From programming selections to the actual theatrical form, the creative spirit is allowed to go where it needs to go without the restrictions of what people think theatre or art is supposed to be. This is a powerful thing that I have worked really hard to ensure and I believe the key ingredient for Collaboraction is the fertile environment known as Chicago, which has spawned the best theatre town in the county, gyros and that weird shit where people reserve their snow shoveled parking spots with brooms and lawn chairs.

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About the Author(s)

John Hospodka is a life-long Chicagoan (and Sox fan), and has spent the past decade making a home with his wife in Bridgeport. He does not profess to be an expert in anything; he's just a big fan of the arts and is eager to make more sense of them.

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