Year in Review Chat with Cary and Colette
This holiday season, West of 10th Director of Development Sean Tecson interviewed several of our recent, awesome collaborators about their experience working with us! First up, Colette Robert and Cary Gitter, director and writer of this summer's After Dad workshop.
Sean Tecson: How did you get involved with West of 10th? What excited you most about this particular company? Colette Robert: I got involved through one of my favorite playwrights and people, Cary Gitter. We've worked together on many projects, and I was excited to be given the time and space to work with him and a supremely talented group of actors on his beautiful play. The work that Cary was able to do with the script in just a week's time was incredible!
Cary Gitter: I got involved with West of 10th through a mutual playwright friend, who passed along the company's call for play submissions. I sent them a play and began a dialogue with Jen and Rachel that lasted about a year, and then they offered to produce a reading of my play Menorah in the fall of 2016. That was the start of our relationship. What excited me most about West of 10th was its commitment to new work and to the voices and stories of people of my (millennial) generation. And the fact that Jen and Rachel are fellow North Jerseyans didn't hurt either.
ST: What was it like developing work with West of 10th? Cary: Developing work with West of 10th has been a gift to me as a playwright. In 2017, Jen and Rachel offered to give my play After Dad--a very personal piece about the death of my father--the company's first developmental workshop. My director, Colette Robert, and I had a fantastic week of work with an amazing cast at the Dramatists Guild Fund's beautiful Music Hall space, and the play grew by leaps and bounds. The culminating reading was a wonderful experience. And all along, we were nurtured by the support and belief of the West of 10th staff.
Colette: Cary and I both felt really supported by West of 10th throughout the entire process. I didn't have to worry about any of the producing or administrative details because I knew that Jen and Rachel were taking care of it!
ST: Why is it important for companies like West of 10th to exist? Colette: West of 10th gives young theatre artists agency and opportunity and institutional support. And they do it with a lot of energy and tremendous grace.
Cary: It's important for companies like West of 10th to exist because there's a whole new generation of playwrights and theater artists in their 20s and 30s who need outlets to tell their stories and be heard. And if bigger institutional theaters are closed to them, then smaller, scrappier companies like West of 10th can provide that outlet. They can seek out exciting plays and put them on a path of development and growth. They can give artists a sense of worth and confidence. We need companies like West of 10th to help push the next generation forward.
ST: What hopes do you have for the future of the project you worked on with West of 10th? Colette: More development opportunities and eventually: a production.
Cary: I worked on two projects with West of 10th. My play Menorah went on to be an O'Neill semifinalist, a Jewish Playwriting Contest finalist, and a finalist for a SPACE on Ryder Farm Creative Residency. My hope is that it will find a home for further development and production in the near future. And the same goes for my play After Dad. Whatever happens with either of them, I know they're in the shape they're in today in large part thanks to West of 10th's support.
More about Colette:
Colette Robert is a Los Angeles native currently living in New York. Recent credits include: HOW MY GRANDPARENTS FELL IN LOVE (EST), WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW (NYU/Stella Adler), HOTTENTOTTED (The Tank; ANT Fest), THE MOUNTAINTOP (Chester Theatre Company), ICONS/IDOLS (Ice Factory Festival), and WHEN LAST WE FLEW (Diversionary Theatre; FringeNYC). Colette is a member of EST and co-facilitator of the New Georges Jam. Alumnus of Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, The Civilians R&D Group, New Georges Audrey Residency, and The Public’s Van Lier Directing Fellowship. M.A., RADA and King’s College, London. B.A., Yale.
http://www.coletterobert.com/ @coletterobert on instagram @colettemrobert on twitter
More about Cary:
Cary Gitter is a NYC-based playwright and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre's (EST’s) Obie Award-winning Youngblood group. His play How My Grandparents Fell in Love was a New York Times Critic’s Park as part of EST’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays. He received a 2017 New Play Commission from the EST/Sloan Project. His plays have been developed at Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies, EST, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Flea Theater, NJ Rep, NYU, the Tank, and elsewhere. He has been a two-time O'Neill semifinalist and a Jewish Playwriting Contest finalist. BFA, MA: NYU.