Rahway, NJ- This Friday at the Union County Performing Arts Center Hamilton Stage, Seminar begins a one-weekend run filled with tension, drama and comedy. This Theresa Rebeck play about four students in a writing seminar under an exacting, unconventional professor has an added bonus for audiences in Rahway: actor Richard Kline will be starring in the featured role. Kline is best known for his role as Larry Dallas in the television show Three’s Company (1977-1984). Executive Director of the UCPAC, Brian Remo, is also heading the show as its director. I asked him a few questions about this experience and how he typically tackles directing.
Q: What is your performing arts background? How many shows have you directed for Fearless Productions?
A: Ironically, what started out as a hobby became a life-changing event. I’ve directed about a dozen plays (mostly straight plays and a few musicals) over the past seven years. My only formal training theatrically is with the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York City.
Q: As an actor yourself, how does that experience translate into directing?
A: They are two very different experiences entirely. People often ask which I enjoy more, and I honestly enjoy them both equally for very different reasons. Short answer: I try to create moments and allow the actors to decide the path between them.
Q: Why Seminar? What drew you to this show?
A: I saw this show in NYC starring the late, great Alan Rickman and immediately fell in love with nearly every Theresa Rebeck play I came in contact with since then. Honestly, I was literally waiting fervently for the rights to become available for this play, and I’m excited to be presenting the New Jersey premiere.
Q: What’s it been like working with Richard Kline?
A: Richard is amazing. Going into this process, admittedly I was very intimidated about directing an actor of Richard’s caliber and experience. Mr. Kline is direct-able, approachable and talented beyond words. I can honestly say I’ve learned a great deal from working with Richard, and I am grateful for the experience to get to know him for the amazing person that he is.
Q: What has been the most enjoyable part of this experience?
A: This answer is always: the cast. Sharing a period of time with passionate people is always a delight. Specific to this cast, the journey of friendships has been most rewarding.
Q: What qualities do you look for in actors?
A: Honesty, commitment, emotional availability, willingness to explore. It’s difficult to qualify what you look for in specific actors, I feel. In most cases it’s the collective unit of the ensemble that you’re trying to build. So the characteristics of the individual actors will most certainly change from project to project.
There will be four performances of Seminar at the UCPAC Hamilton Stage: Friday, January 6 at 8 PM, Saturday, January 7 at both 3 PM and 8 PM, and Sunday, January 8 at 3 PM. Tickets are $15 for each show. There is also a $35 VIP ticket option available for only the first showing on January 6. This ticket includes a meet and greet with Richard Kline and the cast, as well as light fare. Tickets can be purchased by calling (732) 499-8226 or by visiting ucpac.org. The Union County Performing Arts Center Hamilton Stage is located in downtown Rahway at 360 Hamilton Street and is easily accessible to major roads and public transportation.