What is your name and where are you from?

Jon Stancato
My name is Jon Stancato. I am from New York, NY

Kiran Rikhye
My name is Kiran Rikhye and I am also from New York, NY.

Jon
And we are from the Stolen Chair Theater Company.


What have you been working on at SPACE?

Jon
We came up on Tuesday, in the early afternoon, to spend the first few days working on the writing for our play Potion, which is going to be a site-specific romantic romp set in a cocktail lounge, the premise being that instead of vending liquors the proprietress of this particular bar sells potions that can transform you for a short period of time into anything you want to be. The text style, which maybe Kiran would like to say more about in a moment, is very complex. So, it was nice to have time to work on that without the distractions of the world. And then we had our actors and musician come on Friday. We have been exploring how music fits in this world, which is already a very musical and rhythmic world. We have been working on how to develop a rehearsal and training process, so that when we get back to the city we can move straight ahead and mount the piece. 

Kiran
It’s been an unusual writing process. And part of what I have been doing here is figuring out the process. What I am doing… we are calling it… what did we call it?

Jon
A tuneless libretto!

Kiran
Right. I am writing a tuneless libretto. For any given scene, I will find a duet, or a trio, or an aria from an opera (I am limiting it to Italian operas) and what I am looking to do is to write my own words with my own content, but to borrow the rhythms, rhymes, and repetitions from whatever piece I have chosen. So how to translate Italian libretto into English language play—that’s what I have been working on.


Where have you chosen to work?

Jon
We have spent a lot of time in the music parlor. Partly because it’s been a bit cold lately, and with six or seven bodies in this room it is quite comfortable. Also, our musician came with five instruments, including an upright bass, and so we wanted a central location that was well temperatured, where he could have access to all the instruments at the same time. I have used the hammock a lot for reflection time and free reading to get me inspired about the other stuff we are doing. We have made great use of the canoe and Peach Lake. It’s beautiful and the water is wonderfully warm.

Kiran
Being here has allowed the actors to work really hard all day without feeling run down or over worked. On breaks, instead of lying down on the floor of the rehearsal studio or running to the hallway to refill their water bottles, they are going for a quick swim.

Jon
In the living room there is a sloped banquette by the window, which has just been great for the more focused work. Any time I have had to do writing or something on my computer, it’s been perfect. It’s quiet and there is good back support.

Kiran
And the porches. I am big fan of the porches. To be able to write in a comfortable space, with a desk, where you can really set up like an office—but to be outside at the same time is really wonderful!

Jon
Today we rehearsed outside in the backyard. It’s sort of lovely to look at this play, which is going to be set in a basement bar, outside amidst butterflies and hummingbirds.

Kiran
It has just been amazing to have so many diverse spaces around us, that all have such distinct feels to them. You don’t always feel the same way. Your mood changes depending on what you are working on or how the day is going. It is nice to be in constant motion finding the place that’s most conducive to whatever kind of work you’re doing at any given time.

Jon
Kiran and I have been taking trips up the ridge everyday. Especially when there were a lot of different artists here earlier in the week, and then a lot of our own artists here later in the week, we have needed space that feels like we can get away where we can chat and think about some big questions. When you are at the top of the ridge you can only see trees and mountains, and nobody else. So, it felt like a nice setting to talk about the big questions with each other. 


What’s next for this project?

Jon
We have to finish writing this project. And begin rehearsing it simultaneously. Theoretically, we are supposed to open it at the end of November for an open-ended run every Sunday night until we get bored of doing it. Once the show is up ,we will go to our own wintertime retreat to begin creating our next piece, which we think will have something to do with the world and aesthetic of Hitchcock.


If you were to be reincarnated as a farm animal, what farm animal would you be? 

Kiran
I am going to cheat, since technically there is a cat on the property. Yeah, farm cat works for me. But I should think of a herd type animal…

Jon
Seeing good old Socks patrol the premises, I think being a city dog/farm dog seems pretty great—especially when you get to eat ducks and play with sheep. You get to be around the people, and they feed you and love you and howl with you. And then you get to be a dog and chase sheep!

Kiran
Yeah, if I were going to base my answer on the animals that I have seen on the farm this week, I would also choose Socks. He seems to have a pretty sweet city and country life.

Interviewed by Alison McLaughlin