LISA MILINAZZO
 

MY CREATIVE PROCESS: I find the main kernel of my inspiration summed up by Dostoevsky: “Everyone has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only his friends…there are still others which a man is even afraid to tell himself…” that's the story I want to tell. Each time I enter into the world of the play to tell the story, I must make a decision. At first I see the most obvious journey the characters go on, what they do to and want from one another. Then I try to push myself into the uncomfortable place, the hidden nerve where I’m afraid to go, or even excited to go. I invite my actors into that more private world of the play. In this way, the journey and the outcome are exciting for all of us. I look for the anguish in the play and the silent longing. Despite the horrors that characters may inflict upon one another, I’m listening underneath the text for that longing. I listen for what screams inside, not just in the characters but the play as a whole, and I direct from that place. This is how I connect to all material. Finding and expressing that journey is what inspires all my directorial choices. 

My process is informed by Joan Littlewood, whose methods of improvisation and ensemble were used in rehearsals to create piercingly truthful theatre. 

MY WORK: My own work depends on my passionate presence and daring myself to be alive with every facet of myself in the rehearsal room. The actors and I delve into a script through exploratory improvisation and physical work to discover the world of the play in an organic, lively way. The universe we create becomes palpable and has a life and breadth even larger than the play, and larger than all the artists involved. Our explorations of text and character are experiential. My style also comes from my years as a member of the Actors Space ensemble in New York, headed by artistic director, Alan Langdon.

I am excited by material which teeters on the edge of comedy and tragedy. I like depicting extreme worlds. My vision is to create a cauldron of peculiar, desperate personalities and circumstances that I aim to bring to vibrant life. I am drawn to larger than life characters, often dark, and able to set horrific consequences into motion, but who also embody theatrical, comedic elements.  

TOPICS THAT INTEREST ME: Lately, I’ve been telling stories of alienation, the juxtaposition of the disenfranchised with the privileged. We live in a time in which lonely, sick, voiceless people sit at home, maybe at computers and plan a course of vengeance, a course of finally ‘getting’. They plan acts of violence, scheming to finally get their chance, to make a statement; to stake a claim in a world that doesn’t belong to them, through illicit means, through  murder, violence and rage. 

In this virtual era when people have lost the art of connection and are more isolated and lost from any real human contact than ever, stories of disconnection and isolation are more relevant than ever.

I am the daughter of Sicilian immigrant blue-collar parents. My father fought hard to be a “successful American”. I often relate to characters who struggle to get ‘in’. I relate to a longing for a life that matters to the world….to be valued by society as a worthwhile entity. This is a universal desire, of course, whether you’re rich or poor. I’m always interested in the twisted cry of a lost, voiceless soul. This is hugely meaningful to me.

PHOTOGRAPHED: MARLA MASE

PHOTOGRAPHED: MARLA MASE

UPCOMING PROJECTS: I am really excited about Miracles Lost & Found a multimedia production I’m directing, starring the extraordinary Marla Mase, based on her awesome, edgy new album of the same name that has just been released by True Groove Records. The work is a mix of spoken word, funk, r&b, punk, soul, classic rock-n-roll, infused with GLOBAL SOUL. It will include song, dance, drama, film and a wild, crazy ensemble. I’m over the moon about it! It will perform sometime in F 2017 in Manhattan. (CLICK FOR MORE INFO)

I’ve also been developing a couple of excellent scripts by Charlotte Delaney, daughter of Shelagh Delaney. We also have an unproduced play by Shelagh that we will be developing.