Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

April 22, 2011

Erratica director Dan Foss sat down with AD to talk about the show and life in the theatre.

How’d you get into theater?

When I was 12, my father passed away unexpectedly.  My junior high school chorus teacher thought that encouraging me to audition for the school musical would be good distraction/therapy.  I auditioned and was cast as the title character in “Tom Sawyer”.  So, Ms. Bohart, if you’re out there somewhere, I have you to both thank and blame for my addiction to theatre!

I understand you’ve worked with Reina Hardy before.  What show did you do?  Any thoughts on that experience?
My first introduction to Reina was when Babes With Blades asked if I’d be interested in directing a series of staged readings to help develop a play that they really liked.  I read it and was smitten with Reina before we ever even met!  The show is “Susan Swayne and the Bewildered Bride”, a comedy about a secret society of female detectives in 1880s London.  I was (and still am) majorly impressed with Reina’s use of language and the way she can incorporate wacky comedy into really intelligent dialogue.  I like my comedy both smart and silly…Reina delivers!

What appealed to you about Erratica?  Why did you want to direct it?
I really love directing comedy.  Though Erratica isn’t technically true to the farce genre, Reina calls it an “academic farce”.  All farces that I’ve directed in the past have featured strong male roles, while the women are relegated to playing airheads and tramps, running around half-naked and delivering lame dialogue.  Erratica has some of the smartest and strongest female characters of any script I’ve read!

What is your dream role/project?
As a director, I really want to do a musical again soon!  I just got a taste of that by directing a ten-minute musical for Point of Contention, but that wasn’t enough for me.  I’ve wanted to direct “Batboy: The Musical” since the first time I heard that music!  As an actor, the list of dream roles is long…but right there at the top would be George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”…preferably opposite our current leading lady (and my dear best friend) Lisa Herceg as Martha!!

You own a lot of Wizard of Oz stuff.  What’s with that?
The easy answer here is … I’m gay!  But I’ve always been touched by the themes of the story.  The idea that you always have everything you want (brains, heart, courage, home) if you remember to embrace it.  I’ve done a lot of shows over my almost-30 years of theatre and playing the Cowardly Lion remains one of my favorite experiences.  His story, in particular, is one that I can personally relate to.

Your cats are Tootie and Belvedere.  I’m detecting a theme.  Why that period in television?
Tootie and Belvedere are in fact named for two of my favorite 80’s sitcoms (I also had a cat who was named after Weezie Jefferson, but she was very sick when I adopted her and too soon passed away).  For me, the 80’s were my teen years…and the television and I had a very close relationship.  All of the crazy sitcoms of that era – Gimme a Break, Silver Spoons, Family Ties, etc. – still inspire my direction.  I learned comedy from that genre, which definitely colors my style a little.

You get one super-power.  What is it?
Invisibility…hands down!  I can’t count the number of times that would come in handy at my day job!!

Magic genie.  Three wishes.  Go.
1)  a magic checkbook that is never ever empty…oh the things I could do…for myself and others!  2) the ability to time travel — there are things I’d love to do differently and people I’d love to see again!  3) more wishes!

What is your personal motto?

It’s cheesy, but I think that Jonathan Larson’s RENT lyric “No Day But Today” is a great motto to live by.  There are days when repeating it to myself like a mantra keeps me sane.

If the zombie apocalypse, or zombocalypse, hit tomorrow, what would your plan be?
I immediately take refuge in the company of my friends Jamie and Eric Prahl…they know more about zombies than any sane people should.  I know I would be safe with them!

Who do you consider a modern-day demigod?
I’d worship at the altar of Jon Stewart!


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