LEIGHA: So, normally we start these interviews by asking the artists to tell us their full names, where they’re from and a little bit about themselves.
GAYE TAYLOR UPCHURCH: I’m Gaye Taylor Upchurch (I tend to go by GT), and I’m from Jackson, Mississippi. I came to theatre via dance and after teaching seventh grade English. How’s that?
LEIGHA: That’s great.
MADELEINE GEORGE: I’m Madeleine George, and I’m from Amherst, Massachusetts. I’m a playwright, and I live in New York City… and I don’t know what else is interesting about me. I have a long, checkered history of work experiences, but we don’t have to get into that here.
LEIGHA: What project are you working on here at SPACE?
GT: We’re at the very beginnings of working on a musical about a female dragon slayer.
LEIGHA: That’s so cool. How far into this process are you?
MADELEINE: …that far.
GT: Yeah, we’re day one in.
MADELEINE: We’re thinking about the story, we’re thinking about the themes, the images… the possibilities.
LEIGHA: Are you both writing it together?
GT: Madeleine’s a writer, and I’m a director.
MADELEINE: But the impetus for the project was GT and I’s; that’s fair to say right?
MADELEINE: You had the inspiration that it would be a musical.
GT: Yes, that’s true. It’s harkening back to my favorite stories from my childhood. I approached Madeleine about working on this with me.
MADELEINE: So, really, it’s being devised mutually.
LEIGHA: What else have you been doing with your time here at SPACE, when you’re not working on your musical?
MADELEINE: We spent a lot of time today at that outdoor table with other people who are also working here.
MADELEINE: Talking about political trends and immigration—
GT: –and fresh tomatoes–
MADELEINE: –and tomatoes and quinoa. And kale: how much is too much?
LEIGHA: Indeed, I was there for that kale conversation.
MADELEINE: And David Cale. Talking about kale with David Cale is the best. The guy’s a specialist. It’s really nice out today. You can put that in your interview.
LEIGHA: I will.
GT: Yeah its 100% perfection today.
MADELEINE: It’s the best day of the summer; so being inside would be bad. So, we’re just sitting out here…
LEIGHA: On the Bowling Green. It’s really nice. A good view too.
MADELIENE: Basically we’ve been here for twenty-four hours.
GT: Many cups of coffee later.
LEIGHA: Good, I’m glad because I’ve been making that coffee.
GT: Its outstanding!
MADELEINE: Well, its really important, and it’s really good! You know some people make a pot of coffee and you’re like, “Oh, it’s a good effort?” But this is fortifying, powerful… pirate coffee.
LEIGHA: You don’t know how great that makes me feel.
GT: Pirate coffee, it’s the best.
LEIGHA: So, is your musical the project that’s coming up next?
GT: Oh no. That’ll be years away. Currently, I’m directing An Iliad, at Hudson Valley Shakespeare just down the road. We have first preview at the end of next week.
MADELEINE: That’s so exciting! I’m working on two different productions of a play of mine that premiered a couple of years ago but I’m retooling. One in Providence and one in Chicago.
LEIGHA: Final question: if you could be reincarnated as any farm animal, what would it be and why?
GT: I think I’m going to go with Socks the Dog.
LEIGHA: Socks the Dog?
GT: Yeah I think he pretty much has it made out here you know?
LEIGHA: Oh yeah, we love Socks.
MADELEINE: Does it have to be an animal that’s on this farm?
LEIGHA: It could be any farm animal!
MADELEINE: I think… it’d have to be a pig. Because pigs are dolphin smart.
Interviewed by Leigha Sinnott