InterACT Theatre Company will stage the award-winning, provocative comedy, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, at the Pico Playhouse, beginning October 21st.
Dealing with hostile takeovers and the inner workings of corporate America, the play was written by Jerry Sterner who got the idea for the story while working the night-shift for the New York Transit Authority where he managed to write seven plays during the nearly six years he spent working in the booth.
Director, Oliver Muirhead has taken on the controversy that comes with perennial conversations about corporate takeovers. He is working with two casts to tell this compelling story. The questions are analogous to those presented during every financial crisis since Capitalism began, but Muirhead’s challenge is to stay true to the characters and to both sides of the story that Sterner set out to tell.
Unlike the terms of Blockbuster going at Hollywood Entertainment or Comcast buying Dreamworks Animation, when New England Wire and Cable is threatened by “Larry the Liquidator,” audiences can inspect the moral aspects of the deal so that they are able to take home both sides of the questions being raised. Written in the late 1980’s, this piece rings just as true today. Oliver Muirhead offers a directors perspective on juggling all of those elements.
HR: What was it about this script that sucked you into wanting to direct it? Are you still glad that you took on this job?
Oliver: It’s a great story and a fascinating message, but it was the lives of the characters that made me want to direct the play. The story involves the fate of a whole town and it presents the debate of whether or not it is right to try to hold back change. This electoral season forces us to see how the evolution of the American economy has created winners and losers, and this play brilliantly asks how we feel about that.
Am I still glad I took on the job? That’s a cruel question for any director to answer one week before opening. But yes, and that’s because working with such talented actors is always a pleasure.
HR: Do you think that good directing comes from good instincts, or is it something that you can learn?
Oliver: Like most jobs, even good directing comes from good instincts…and then you realize how much you have to learn. I guess it’s like the term “practicing medicine,” you’d hope your doctor would have it down by now. But there’s always stuff to learn.
HR: What are your biggest challenges in directing this piece?
Oliver: Too many talented cast members: they get other gigs, they have teaching jobs, and some even have real lives! The scheduling of rehearsals in L.A.‘s intimate theatre scene has always been a huge challenge. All credit goes to Daniel James Clark, our producer, for juggling the actor’s times and conflicts to keep it working in the most efficient way so that we can keep moving forward.
HR: How do you think audiences will relate to the story, and what will stay with them from the experience of having seen this play?
Oliver: It’s what’s happening in the economy right now. The play was written in the 1980’s but the message is even more topical today. The populist rebellions in the U.S and around the world are protests from the victims of progress. Can we stop progress? Should we try to mitigate the damage that comes with economic change? Capitalism is like fire: it warms us but it can badly burn us as well.
HR: Your film credits, like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2 Broke Girls show that you have a sense of humor. Do you think that humor is one of your strengths as a director?
HR: What’s your biggest weakness as a director?
Oliver: Weakness? That’s a sly question. Well, following on from your last question I’d say sometimes I take things a bit too seriously. Lest we forget, it’s a play…we should be playing, and having fun so that we can better entertain people. A play is not a lesson or a lecture. You can go to school for that. Remember, theatre is cheaper and only takes a couple of hours. Another weakness of mine, “I’m a lousy mind reader.” That’s a quote from OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. If only I could read minds…
HR: Anything else that you want readers to know about you, this play…or anything?
Oliver: Well, I hope that readers will come and see the play twice…it’s double cast. They will have a wonderfully different experience both times. Other than that, vote. This show is running at the perfect time to make us all think about the important choices we get to weigh in on. Men and women died for our right to vote. Exercise it. Exercise is good for all of us, right? Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.
Other People’s Money opens at 8pm on Friday, October 21st and runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm through November 20, 2016.
The Pico Playhouse is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.
Tickets are $32 (Senior & Students $27).
For more information and reservations: 818-765-8732 or online http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2588643