Mother, a new play by Lisa Ebersole (second from the right in the photo above), begins previews tonight at the Wild Project (continuing through August 1). Set in a West Virginia resort during a family's ritual New Year's Eve party, the play has siblings, partners, children and parents prodding and pronouncing the various tensions and injuries they've kept under wraps for years. Recently, Ebersole (who also stars in the play) took some time off her hectic rehearsal schedule to discuss the play, future projects and her interests in film and photography.
The L Magazine: What projects are you currently working on?
Lisa Ebersole: We’re rehearsing for my play Mother. I’m in the unusual position of being the playwright and an actor in the show and I’m acting alongside Buck Henry, Holland Taylor, Haskell King, Keith Randolph Smith and David Rosenblatt. Andrew Grosso is directing. I’m loving going to work every day. Nothing I’d rather be doing.
What long-term ideas and projects do you hope to develop in the months and years ahead?
I formed a production company with two good friends called Evill July. Our accountant called to make sure we really wanted to call a company that. But, yes, Evill July is the name, and we want to make Mother into a movie when the play is over. Film is a close second to theater for me in terms of love. I have another play called Baby that’s ready to go... Ultimately, I’d love to continue writing plays, producing them, and acting as much as possible. The dream would be to have a theater some day. Theater life suits me.
What’s the best show you’ve seen recently?
Best play I saw last year was probably Blasted at Soho Rep––I literally jumped out of my seat at one point. And August Osage is great. Saw it twice. I also love the Freestlyle Love Supreme guys. They rock.
What show are you most looking forward to?
I was hoping to see The Norman Conquests but it’s looking kind of unlikely since they close on Sunday. God of Carnage. I’ve got to see it. All my plays have been ensemble pieces and that looks like a killer ensemble. Plus, c’mon, Tony Soprano!
What has been your most positive experience working in the arts in New York City?
This play, without a doubt. The cast is incredible, the production team rocks, and it’s renewed my faith in humanity.
What has been your worst experience working in the arts in New York City?
An acting class where the teacher wanted me to lie under an army blanket on the floor and pretend “I was being tickled as I’d never been tickled before”. I left.
What’s your favorite New York City venue to work in?
I love flexible spaces like Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory on 4th Street, and The Wild Project (where we’re doing Mother) is a gorgeous space. I’d love to do a play in a bar or restaurant.
If, for whatever reason, you could no longer work in theater, what would you do?
Scuba dive and take pictures for National Geographic.
If you had an opportunity to work in any other sector of the arts, what would it be?
Photography and film. I started out taking pictures, and then moved to making films. Somehow I ended up doing plays.
(photo credit: Nat Chitwood)