"...life is actually a bit like Kafka would have us believe it is."
David Kennedy is the director of the Wilma’s upcoming production of The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck. This interview was conducted by Richard Kotulski, the Wilma’s Literary Programming Assistant and Casting Director.
RK: What draws you to The Understudy?
DK: I identify with the underlying anxiety that fuels the characters, and I enjoy the way it’s expressed in this very smart and funny writing. What’s great about The Understudy is that Theresa employs the imaginative universe of Franz Kafka as shorthand for all the ways in which we’re frustrated in the attainment of our desires by impersonal forces that, nevertheless, have a very personal effect on us. Kafka’s novels and short stories are actually comedies of a sort, but comedy infused with dread, a kind of tragic farce, as is The Understudy. To my mind that’s the best kind of comedy.
In the play we have three people, all of whom could be said
A prostitute, a toy soldier, and your first love
By Johnny Van Heest
This week, the actors are on stage for The Understudy rehearsals. I was able to sneak down to the stage for a bit for a photoshoot with the actors. Aside from being extremely funny when running lines, these guys are pretty hilarious even when they are not in character. It perhaps comes as no surprise that these three actors, Jenn Harris, Brad Coolidge, and Cody Nickell, all have experience working in comic theater, television, and film.