Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nero/Pseudo: Meet Laura Schlachtmeyer

(As part of my blogging about Nero/Pseudo here at Balkans via Bohemia, I will be introducing readers to members of the cast and creative team of the show. Today I feature stage manager Laura Schlachtmeyer.) 

Nothing really happens on a production without the stage manager. Our production of Nero/Pseudo at WSC Avant Bard is extraordinarily fortunate to have landed Laura Schlachtmeyer -- a recent arrival in DC -- to make our chariots run on time.

This is how fortunate we are: Laura received the 2011 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Stage Manager. It is the only such award for stage managers in the United States.

Laura has worked from coast to coast as a stage manager, from Tony N' Tina's Wedding (Chicago) to Killing My Lobster sketch comedy (San Francisco) to a position as a technical collaborator with the New York Neo-Futurists.

Laura is also a playwright whose short plays have been featured in the EstroGenius and InGenius festivals at Manhattan Theatre Source. She has also produced several independent sci-fi feature films. (Yes, they are on Netflix and iTunes!)

Even closer to the playwright's heart, however, is that Laura has translated plays by two of his favorite German dramatists: Georg Büchner (Woyzeck) and Ernst Toller (Masse Mensch). Both translations were also produced at Manhattan Theatre Source.

Would Laura consider a trifecta and translate Odon von Horvath's late (and still untranslated into English) play Pompeji: Komödie eines Erdbeben? I haven't asked her yet. Perhaps she's had enough of Rome. But she did answer the playwright's three questions about the Nero/Pseudo experience.

Who is your favorite person/god from antiquity?

I like all the monsters, as a general group. It would be awesome and scary to live in the same world as all those Scyllas and Charybdises and Hydras and Sirens and Gorgons and Minotaurs and Sphinxes.

What's the strangest fact about the ancient world or glam rock that you've learned from this experience?

Auguries are neat. It's such a natural human urge to want to predict the future and get guidance for our choices. And there's something beautiful about the idea that all life is connected, to the point that human events can be connected to natural events like birds in flight. I can't exactly think of a glam-rock equivalent. But I think we all know the feeling when that certain song comes on the radio, and we interpret it as a good or bad omen. (People still listen to the radio, right? Sometimes? In the car maybe?)

If you were Emperor for a day, what would be your first decree? 

See, the hardest part of being a supreme ruler is to feel sure that your decrees are really helping people. That's why as Emperor I would make keys illegal. (I wouldn't concern myself with what keys are replaced by, if anything. Biometrics. Voice recognition. Abolition of property ownership. Whatever.) That way I would be sure that everyone gets at least 5 minutes back in their day -- the time they would have otherwise spent looking for their keys. People would get where they were going on time, productivity would go up, and the welfare of my Empire would be secured.

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