Meet Playwright Lance Anthony

PLAYWRIGHT Q&A

Many will recognize you from being on stage acting in or directing one of our Children’s Theatre or Main Stage Theatre productions. Pinocchio is your first script for the Downtown Cabaret Theatre. Can you share with us where your interest in writing a script derived from and any other writing experience you have?

For five seasons, Children’s Company Artistic Director Phill Hill has written the majority of our scripts. Usually, he writes four of them, and one is a script that already exists. Those scripts are not really in our style and can sometimes be a speed bump in our season. Originally, the theatre planned on using an existing script. Meanwhile, this past Summer, I was asked to write The Emperor’s New Clothes for Bridgeport Summer Stage. It became one of those things where everything aligned and Phill approached me with the offer to write Pinocchio.

Can you talk us through how you brought the Children’s Theatre “Cabaret Style” to your Pinocchio script?

Well, being here as long as I have, I am very familiar with our style. Audience participation, popular music, topical and anachronistic references, and humor that is aimed at the adults in the audience as well as the children. Yes, it’s children’s theatre, but we want it to be just as fun for the grown-ups.

Do you have a favorite character?

Pinocchio, of course. Without him, there is no story.

Do you prefer one over the other – acting, directing, playwriting?

They all have their pluses. As an actor, your focus is on your performance. Your job is to memorize your lines and blocking and make sure you fit into the director’s vision of the show. The director has the most responsibility. They have to understand all the characters, their motivations, and be able to move the actors all over the stage for a couple hours in order to convey the story. A playwright has to create the story, whether original or adapted from another source, and make it interesting enough to keep an audience’s attention. Then they have to step back and let everyone else interpret it. I like doing all three. They each have their own “set of muscles” they exercise. For Pinocchio, I wrote, directed, and am playing a few characters (including Geppetto). It’s like my Dances With Wolves.