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This summer, Pascale Florestal, director of Fairview, answered some questions about this Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, her artistic inspirations, and her previous phenomenal productions at SpeakEasy. Check out the interview below!
Fairview as a play is famously hard to talk about without giving spoilers — what CAN you tell us about this show?
I can tell you that the play explores what it means to be viewed in the white gaze. I don’t want to say much more.
What made you want to direct this production?I have always been a big fan of Jackie Sibblies Drury plays, and after I first read the script I was just taken aback by the story and thought I would do anything to direct this show. I started doing research on how the piece came to be and from that I knew it was a play I had to do. I think so much of why I direct theater is to have a conversation with the audience about the world we live in. As a black queer woman, I love seeing plays that show the black experience in a way we have never seen before. I love plays that challenge us, make us uncomfortable and make us want to change in some way, and I think Fairview does that in a way you never expect till its over.
You’ve directed a lot of amazing plays and musicals in Greater Boston — from The Colored Museum to Marie and Rosetta to Once on This Island. What makes Fairview different from all these other shows? How has your previous work informed your approach to this script?
I think Jackie’s plays constantly challenge what we think theatre should be and I love that about her work. I have been very lucky to direct some amazing shows and each show has taught me more about the ways we can enact change through storytelling.
As you prepare to direct Fairview, from what other works of art are you drawing inspiration (music, movies, visual art, etc.)?
I think a lot about Get Out by Jordan Peele, Kehinde Wiley’s work, and most recently Fat Ham by James Ijames. I’m interested in works of art that challenge the black experience and the way in which we experience it
What are you most looking forward to in the process of bringing Fairview to life and bringing it to SpeakEasy audiences?
I’m always excited to see how the audience will receive the story. This play is not your everyday play and I am so intrigued to see what people will say as they leave the audience. I’m also excited to work with my actors and team bringing this play to life because it has so many aspects to it, that it almost feels like a musical but it isn’t.
Besides Fairview, what show are you most looking forward to in SpeakEasy’s 2022-23 Season?
I’m a huge Prom fan so I am definitely the most excited about that one but honestly the entire season is full of exciting work that I can’t wait to see!