Where do you look for inspiration?
First, my colleagues. Not only the amazingly talented collaborators – actors, writers, choreographers, designers, musicians, etc. – that I have the opportunity to work with here in NYC, but I learn and am constantly inspired by the work I see every time I go to the theater. There are particular actors who I see perform and walk away saying: “I want to create a really fantastic role for them” and that really gets the juices flowing. I see productions that innovate their form or move me and always get ideas I pack away in my back pocket for later. Secondly, history: I like to study the past and particular historical contexts and use these stories as the spark to create plays or musicals. To me, finding the connections between the past and the present makes me feel like I’m part of a continuum of human experience, and that’s inspiring.
Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Of course! I dream every day. It’s amazing to me the resilience of my own psyche. Even when I’m feeling totally burned out on theater and frustrated by our industry – give me a week off and and I’ll be thinking of the next project I’m excited to dive into. I literally have an evolving, written list of shows I’d like to direct or create (it used to be posted on my refrigerator) which at any given time would easily keep me busy for at least five years. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to tackle all of them! Of course, there are also non-theater projects that one day I hope to try my hand at as well… several good ideas for novels, for example.
What is your best escape?
I love to travel – recently I was able to take a trip to Sofia, Bulgaria, to experience the theater community over there – but of course travel is expensive and hard to manage with my current lifestyle. Short of completely escaping my own culture, a long walk in Riverside Park with my husband is pretty wonderful…
What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
When I went to college I actually aspired to be a writer of fiction or poetry, and studied in Princeton’s Creative Writing program.
Cara Reichel Producing Artistic Director, Prospect Theater Company. Recent for Prospect: Iron Curtain (also 2009 NAMT, 2008 O’Neill Theatre Center), I Married Wyatt Earp, and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge; Othello for Oberon Theatre Ensemble. Education: Princeton University & M.F.A. Program at Brooklyn College. Member: SDC & LPTW. www.carareichel.com