|Kristin Skye Hoffmann|
We present to you a special “Winks” Interview with Wide Eyed’s Artistic Director Kristin Skye Hoffmann! It’s not easy to do with her schedule, but we chased her down, crawled into her head, and got some exciting answers. You’re welcome.
- This whole “Winks” idea is pretty great. Can you tell us how it came about?
I’m so happy you think it’s great! I do, too. I first had the idea for a season of staged readings last summer. The board reappointed me to the position of Artistic Director and I had to come up with a realistic and creative idea for our members and audience. For a long time, Wide Eyed has been extremely ambitious with the plays we put up, producing prolifically with almost no down time. Since I’m still pursuing my graduate degree at The New School for Drama, a lot of my time is spoken for, so continuing to produce fully staged plays was an unrealistic goal. The board and I saw this as an opportunity to explore multiple texts briefly and then hear feedback from our company members and audience. The idea is to choose our 7th season from these readings. The most exciting part of this has been working with artists from all around the New York theatre community. Directors, writers, and actors who are new to Wide Eyed have been invited to participate. It has been really great seeing all of the new work and getting feedback from them. Hopefully, the future plays of Season 7 are within the “Winks” series. Only time will tell.
- How were these particular plays chosen?
We wanted to go back to the triple threat combo that we love best which is doing original work from emerging playwrights, contemporary published works, and classic texts that are in the public domain. Our board looked over quite a few texts, some suggested by company or board members and some were brought to us from outside sources. As is Wide Eyed’s style, we selected which plays we were most inspired by as a team. I think it’s a great selection of works.
- How has the feedback from our audience been coming along?
The audience response so far has been wonderfully heartening. After each “Wink” I've received personal emails from audience members who have simply enjoyed the work they saw or are interested in being considered as participants in the future. The work everyone is doing is so impressive, it doesn't surprise me at all.
- As most of our fans know, you directed this week's wildly popular reading of Dead Special Crabs. What drew you to directing this particular piece?
Oh, man! I couldn't wait for this. I’m very lucky to be in school with the brilliant and talented playwright, Daniel Ajl Kitrosser. I first read the text as part of a play script analysis class in my first year at The New School for Drama and immediately fell in love with it. We were working in a sort of 3-D dramaturgy where the playwrights and directors in the class stood in as actors as we mined the circumstances of the text. I was immediately drawn to the role of Aunt Missy and asked Dan if he’d let me read for her (fun fact: Wide Eyed’s Resident Playwright Sam Byron played Detective Horntub). He agreed and enjoyed watching me makeshift a costume and bum a cigarette to let dangle out of the side of my mouth in class. After that, I did my best to let Dan know how interested I was in someday fully producing and directing this text. Dan has a sensibility of quirky dark humor and heartfelt characters that I am extremely drawn to, and when he agreed to let me work on it, I immediately took it to the board. They loved the play almost as much as me. Rehearsal has been a great time, full of laughs. I always know it’s a special play when you can open the script to any page and find a line that makes you laugh. That’s a rare and wonderful thing.
- You are Wide Eyed's Artistic Director, so obviously you would be the person to ask: What direction is the company heading in this year?
Wide Eyed is taking a giant step forward, and I couldn't be happier about it. We are about to have our own 501(c)3 not-for-profit status, which is something we've been working on for quite a while. We are enormously proud of our past work, but now we want bigger and better venues, longer runs, and more innovative production values. When our “Winks” series is finished and we've heard what our company members want to perform, as well as what our audience wants to see, we will choose the content of our season and get started!
- On a personal note, how's school going?
I can’t answer this! I have too much homework! (But thank you for asking.)
- We know it's still hushed, but can you tell us anything about the big party in September?
Is it hushed? Well, I’m letting the cat out of the bag then, because I’m so excited! Co-Founder and Board Chair Liz White and our Event Coordinator Melissa Johnson have been working very hard to put together an exciting Gala Fundraiser on Saturday, September 28th. The Gala will be held at the beautiful Dune Studios. There will be delicious food, an open bar, as well as entertainment and an introduction to our plans for Season 7. All the proceeds will go toward producing our plays and keeping our production quality high. It is going to be a great time, and a perfect excuse to dress up and look fabulous. Tickets will be available very soon through our website, Facebook event, or any Wide Eyed Company member, and there are early bird discounts so keep an eye out for the announcement!