You've been involved with this project for a while. When did you start working with Cassie and Lindsay on it, and what's kept you with it?
I was part of the first reading in May 2013 at Interim Writers. I completely fell in love with the play and Cassie just kept inviting me to be involved in more readings. I thought from the beginning that an actor in his early twenties would play Ilan, and so my primary interest was in helping Cassie develop her play.
How has your character evolved since you began working on the play?
Ilan has become more complicated. He has more flaws and more secrets. We rehearsed for most of the readings, so we’d done a lot of table work by the time we assembled to begin rehearsing for this production. The work changes when you get up on your feet and eventually put your script down. Ilan is always busy doing things. He’s also very reactive and can be playful one moment and enraged the next. I’ve been working on finding his lighter side. He needs his sense of humor to survive.
What elements of your character do you connect or identify with, and how?
It’s an interesting question because I’m playing someone with very different experiences: I’m not Israeli, I haven’t been in the army, and I’ve never been a prisoner of war. But my job isn’t to have had those experiences; it’s to use my body and voice in the collaborative telling of a story. The audience knows I’m an actor, so that’s part of our agreement. That being said, I’m human, so I know about loneliness, loss, love, anger, responsibility, and compassion. I see a lot of Ilan in myself. I also see some of Andrew in me. I think in really great plays, we often can find ourselves reflected in all the characters on stage, good and bad, and this can be wonderful and also unsettling.
What's been your favorite rehearsal moment?
I love rehearsal. I wish we could do it for eight weeks. But there was a day last week, where a tough scene finally just sort of clicked. Lindsay had me play with the ping-pong paddle, and all of a sudden there was a scene. I know that’s vague, but I don’t want to give anything away. Jeff has also begun to make Andrew increasingly defiant and funny, and it can be really hard not to laugh. But I think Ilan would feel the same way.
Do you still want to play ping-pong after this?
Ping-pong has been surprisingly fun. I say surprisingly only because I was always the worst one in a family of avid ping-pong players. So I was actually dreading this part of the process. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to hit the ball on the table. But there has been some improvement. I wasn’t expecting it to be as relaxing and meditative as it’s been. So the answer is yes.