Moises Kaufman and Mary Overlie
On May 19th, 1999, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation hosted a One-on-One Conversation with Moises Kaufman, playwright, director and founder of Tectonic Theater Project, and Mary Overlie, the discoverer of Viewpoints. The two artists discuss the meaning behind theatrical theory and how that relates to their work. Kaufman describes his process in developing The Laramie Project as an exploration of relating theatre to recent current events. He and his company inquire as to the difference between plays about historical events versus plays about current events. Overlie joins the conversation by talking about her roots in classical dance and how that shaped her openness to improvisation. With inspirations including Merce Cunningham and John Cage, Overlie articulates the inception of Viewpoints. Viewpoints is an improvisational system, using elements of Space, Time, Shape, Emotion, Movement and Story. Inspired by her own artistic clash between classicism and post-modern dance, Overlie developed a new way to understand the creation of theatre by combining these forms and understanding the elements involved. As a student of Overlie, Kaufman describes his first memory of seeing her dance at The Kitchen and speaks about how he creates his work. This is an insightful conversation between two artists who thrive on exploration and breaking into new forms within a theatrical setting.