Page 23 - 2012 Spring Lycoming Mag

Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,”
which Dustin wasn’t available for, and it
got us talking about other possible shows
we could do together.
CROUSE:
Interestingly enough the
Taming of the Shrew” Bridget was
directing was set within the context of
the Fundamentalist Church of Latter
Day Saints, or the extreme sect of the
Mormon faith. That Mormon context and
some discussions about it ultimately led
us to the excommunicated playwright
Neil LaBute and his play, “Bash: Three
Plays.”
LEAK:
J. also led us there. She continues
to be a mentor in our lives and she is a
huge Neil LaBute fan. We thought it was
a great play to showcase Dustin’s ability,
as well as challenge me as a director.
Dustin was immediately on board and
willing to play both male roles, we
found a wonderful actress—Dana Leigh
Snyder—to play the female roles, then
I landed us a producer and he got us
the space at Theatre Row and the rest is
history.
CROUSE: 
It sounds completely cli-
chéd, but it really was one of those great,
serendipitous things where Bridget and
I came back into each other’s lives at a
time when we were both ready to take
our careers to another level and work
on something we were really passionate
about. What’s even crazier is Dana, my
stage partner, was trying to get a separate
production of “Bash” going when we first
talked about her meeting Bridget for our
production. We met for a read-through
and we could just feel it—we were the
production.
LEAK:
So rehearsals started and we
finally performed it Off-Broadway!
Q:
What brought this Off-
Broadway production to
Lycoming?
LEAK:
It is really thanks
to J. Stanley that “Bash” is
getting another life. She is
the mastermind behind it all.
It might seem like the stars
were aligned: Dustin and I are
both pursuing theatre careers
in New York City, both are
Lycoming alumni and the
College is celebrating its
bicentennial, but it’s J. that
made it happen.
CROUSE: 
It’s true. J. wanted
this to come to Williamsport.
We all did, but she went to
the school and pitched this concept along
with Bridget’s proposal. Dana and I heard
the news of us being invited and were
ecstatic that we’d get to perform this show
again, in another space and in front of a
completely different audience. It’s funny
. . .
Dana and I both learned about this
play in college—I’m pretty sure J. was
the one who gave it to me to read, as she
directed “The Shape of Things,” another
LaBute play, my senior year, and I know
Dana’s mentor steered her to it as well.
The fact that we were all introduced to this
playwright in college and performed one
of his most challenging plays at a college
from which two of us graduated is sort of
incredible.
LEAK:
Our goal with the Lycoming pro-
duction was to bring intimate NYC theatre
to Williamsport. This was a fantastic op-
portunity for the students to see the practi-
cal side of a career—how what we were
taught as undergrads can be applied to life.
It was really important to us that we make
ourselves as available to students as pos-
sible so Dustin, Dana and I worked with
students during two acting classes, visited
J.’s modern drama class, and
hosted talkbacks, as well as a
special theatre department Q
&
A and an alumni night.
CROUSE:
It’s all pretty
exciting, but scary too. I’m
still learning something new
about this career and the life
of an artist every single day.
Seriously.
Q:
What have you enjoyed
the most about working on
this production?
LEAK:
These stories are
gruesome and horrific, but the
characters are not monsters.
That has been the toughest part, helping
the actors justify their actions without
writing them off as simply crazy. Labeling
them makes it easier to understand their
crimes, but like the ancient Greek myths
they resemble, there is nothing simple
about them, they are deeply human, and I
think that’s the scary part.
CROUSE: 
I think Neil LaBute would
hate me for saying it—distilling his play
down to this—but I think to some degree
these stories are cautionary tales about
how in just the “snap” of a moment a
decision can be made—a decision that is
pure evil and is based in the purest and
most prideful need for survival and retri-
bution. These are dark things and we are
all capable of being caught in them. Then
what’s even more stirring is how people
defend their actions when they make a
choice from these places.
Q:
How does it feel to perform this
revival on Theatre Row?
LEAK:
The stars were aligned on this
one! This is the first New York revival of
the play since it premiered 12 years ago,
with Paul Rudd and Calista Flockhart,
and we performed it on the same street
where it first premiered! We are incred-
ibly excited for and proud of part one of
Bash.”
CROUSE: 
It’s awesome! To have your
Off-Broadway debut in a play you’ve
known and wanted to perform in since
college is pretty great. And I’m just going
to say it—Theatre Row is a great space!
Walking through the stage door at the top
of my call time, going to our dressing
room, relaxing and walking around the
space before performing this bear of a
thing is exactly what I want to do all the
time. It’s terrifying and invigorating at
the same time!
Dana Leigh Snyder
Crouse, Snyder and director Bridget Leak ’05
conducted an acting workshop for Lycoming theatre
students.
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