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SO-0005M-StandardArtFilesStandardArtFiles-300x300pxEducation dramaturg Ted Sod and Emily Ruderman speak with Lindsay Mendez, Carra Patterson and Sas Goldberg about Significant Other.

 

Ted Sod: Emily, my colleague, and I made a list of questions for the three of you. First question is: How do you personally define the term “significant other”?

Lindsay Mendez: The person you want to go through your life with, to be there for you during the good and the bad times.

Sas Goldberg: Your partner in life. Sometimes I think it doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship. It can just be your pal.

Carra Patterson: That main partner in your life, be it boyfriend, husband, girlfriend. The person that you love. Your best friend. That’s what it means to me. At first glance, I saw this play as being about these characters who are tired of being twenty-something singles in New York and who are ready for that life partner.

LM: It’s interesting. I have family in the Midwest and when I was visiting I told them what the play was called and they said, “Oh, is it about gay people?”

SG: Really?

LM: Yes. Immediately.

SG: I would never have even thought that…

LM: Me either! “Is it what I think it’s about?” That’s what my boyfriend’s grandmother said.

Gideon Glick and Lindsay Mendez in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

Gideon Glick and Lindsay Mendez in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.


TS: In terms of your characters, is Jordan your significant other in this play?

LM: Yes, he’s definitely my significant other. Until I find another one. But, to me, he is still my significant other in a way. He’s my significant other and then I meet my husband.

SG: I don’t think my character, Kiki, is Jordan’s significant other. I think Kiki is on the hunt to find a man. That’s how this play starts, she talks about how she’s looking for someone to define her and she finds Conrad.

TS: You said Kiki wants to find someone to “define herself.” Do you think that women still think that way in the era of feminism?

SG: I know so many women who are self-sufficient, but there still is this weird checklist that exists in their heads. You have to find the guy and get married and have kids before it’s too late. I consider myself a relatively young person and my doctor recently said, “Soon you’re going to be high-risk for pregnancy” and I thought: What? When did that happen?

LM: For most women, there’s still this nagging thing inside that says this is what you’re supposed to do. I think that’s so relevant for all three of our characters. None of us really think of marriage as the thing we were going to do. We don’t see each other having the quintessential wedding and doing the cookie cutter thing. We think it’s BS until we’re in the middle of it and then all of a sudden we’re 100% on board.


TS: Do you feel like there is a special connection between gay men and straight women?

SG: Yes.

LM: For sure.

CP: Absolutely.

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Gideon Glick, Carra Patterson and Luke Smith in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.


TS: Do you think that’s because you all work in the theatre?

SG: When I was growing up, my mom, who was not in the theatre, had a lot of gay friends. I had so many “uncles” around our house.

LM: I think there’s something comforting about a male energy that’s nonthreatening. You can totally be yourself around a man who you’re not worried wants to sleep with you. It’s nice to be with a male energy as opposed to a female energy. It’s very different. Gay men are still men. There’s also, for me, something about being picked as a gay man’s favorite that still feels like you’ve been chosen. You want a man to choose you, no matter what. That’s validating in some way.

SG: There could sometimes be a competitive nature that exists between two women. For instance, if one of your friends gets pregnant and you don’t. That doesn’t exist with a gay man.

CP: For me, the first phrase that popped into my head was “kindred spirit.” I just feel like we get each other and the journey. I think gay men represent everything we’re missing in our straight male relationships. You get companionship, understanding and sensitivity. Not that straight men aren’t emotional. It just flows. You get each other in a way that sometimes your girlfriends don’t -- so it’s nice to be with a gay man. My best friend in college was gay and he was the one who bought me my first pair of black pumps.

 

TS: Did you feel like that was a mentor relationship?

CP: It was! I was in college and trying to figure out what kind of woman I wanted to be and he was really integral in helping me. I remember him saying, “Now whatever you decide to do, you’re going be classy and look your best.”

 

TS: Have you two had somebody like that in your lives?

LM: A million.

SG: Oh, yeah. And everyone is still in my life now. “Kindred spirits” is really a great definition for the gay man/straight woman connection. I wouldn’t say every gay man and a straight woman are bound to connect, but when you do find that person, it can be great.

 

TS: Do you feel like you have to invest in a relationship like that or does it “just flow” as Carra said?

SG: There’s a certain level of investment in any relationship. You need to choose to listen and care about each other, remember things. But that’s in a mother-daughter relationship, too. Every relationship takes an investment.

LM: I agree. But, we’re around gay men all the time. I don’t think that everyone gets the chance to have the sort of relationships we get to cultivate. I do think television has really fantasized it to the point where now everyone wants a gay best friend.

SG: A G.B.F.

Gideon Glick and Sas Goldberg in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

Gideon Glick and Sas Goldberg in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

 

TS: Because of shows like Will & Grace?

LM: And Modern Family and all the Bravo TV shows.

 

TS: This play is about finding your significant other in New York City -- is that difficult?

CP: It is and it isn’t. I think there are a lot of beautiful, attractive, great people here, a lot of young professionals, which is the blessing and the curse.

LM: I don’t think people come here looking for love, they move here because they want to be successful.

CP: So it’s hard for people to slow down and see each other. There’s a lot of dating, but, when you’re ready for that real connection, that’s when you can find yourself getting lonely. If you’re ready for your significant other, that can be a bit harder in New York City because everything moves so fast.

SG: My experience is different because I met my husband in college. I moved to New York with a boyfriend and got engaged when I was 26, so I never experienced that part of the city. I have so many friends that are single and I know it’s tough. New York can be very lonely. But that feeling can exist anywhere. This play is a comedy, but it’s also very real and brings up a lot of emotions.

LM: I think that’s what’s so great about Josh’s writing. It goes to a place that is so scary and honest that it makes your skin crawl a little bit. As an actor, that’s so thrilling to get to explore.

 

Emily Ruderman: Where do you think your characters’ friendship with Jordan will be in five years?

CP: I think that Vanessa will probably be divorced and will be very close to Jordan. I feel like they might cling to each other the most in five years. She’s totally a divorcée. Jordan is her best friend and they will be able to relate to each other.

LM: Laura will have children and he’ll be an “uncle” to them. They’ll still be in each other’s lives. There will be some things to be worked out, but they’ll be really close.

SG: I think Kiki moves to the South and has tons of kids. We decided that she’s from New York City, but her husband is from Kentucky, so she fantasizes about this house with cherry blossoms and she moves. I think what Jordan says in Act II is true, he’s like the court jester. He’ll come and visit and she’ll parade her kids around him, but I don’t think they’ll be as close. I think she gets very wrapped up in her own life.

Barbara Barrie, Gideon Glick and Trip Cullman. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

Barbara Barrie, Gideon Glick and Trip Cullman. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

 

TS: Jordan has this great relationship with his grandmother. Do any of you have that kind of relationship with your grandmother?

SG: I do have grandmother, she is where I get some of my feistiness from, but I wish she lived close by like Jordan's grandmother in the play. A few of my grandparents passed away when I was younger and, honestly, I look back now and wish I knew them better.

CP: Both of my grandmothers passed away, but I was particularly close with my father’s mother. I spent a lot of time with her because my parents were in high school during the day. She was really badass. I was in love with her. I hate to sound cliché but she is very close to me even still. I think of her often and a lot of times she ends up being an inspiration for any character I play. She was just a fascinating woman.

LM: Both of my grandmas have passed away, but I’m close to my boyfriend’s grandma. I feel grandparents call your parents out on their bullshit, which feels really good as a kid. They are an ally in that way. The relationship Jordan has with his grandmother in this play totally tears me up because it makes me miss mine so much.

 


Significant Other begins previews May 22 at the Laura Pels Theatre. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2014-2015 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Significant Other, Upstage


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SO-0005M-StandardArtFilesStandardArtFiles-300x300pxOn May 21, Significant Other by Joshua Harmon, the final production of the 2014-15 season begins previews at the Laura Pels Theatre.

Josh’s name may already be familiar to you as the playwright of Bad Jews, the hit play that enjoyed wildly successful runs first at Roundabout Underground’s Black Box Theatre and then at the Pels, to which he now makes an exciting return. It’s hard to explain the incredible impact that Bad Jews has had for this young playwright. The play has become one of the most-produced new works across the country this year, in addition to two sold-out runs in London. Wherever Bad Jews goes, audiences and critics are embracing this story and Josh’s voice.

It’s no small task for a writer to create the follow-up to such a massive professional debut, and I can only imagine the pressure that Josh was feeling to write a play that could potentially reach people on the same level. Happily, I can report that Significant Other is not only as bracing and funny as we could have hoped, but it also shows a deep, heartfelt maturity that evidences this playwright’s ongoing growth.

On the surface, Significant Other is about a young gay man looking for love, but the play examines so much more than that. It lets us see through the eyes of Jordan Berman, a character who is absolutely terrified that, as each of his dearest friends finds happiness, he is moving incrementally closer to the fate of being utterly alone. In a society in which close friends are increasingly as important as biological family, especially in a city like New York, it’s a very real fear. As Jordan tells his grandmother, her friends may literally be dying off, but it feels a lot like the same thing is happening to his. Watching Jordan transition from life of the party to the one left on the sidelines, it’s a heartbreaking shift.

Inspired by playwright Wendy Wasserstein and her work that examined the question of “having it all,” Josh has taken this idea into the present day, moving the gay man who is often the ladies’ sidekick in these stories directly to center stage. And he poses an emotional question that Wasserstein’s characters may encountered but never articulated: It may be hard not to know what you want, but isn’t it worse to know exactly what you want from life and feel incredibly far from getting it?

I’m so proud of Josh and of his funny and moving new work. He has an excellent collaborator in Trip Cullman, an extremely talented director coming to Roundabout for the first time. With a stellar cast and design team, the elements are in place to deliver a truly wonderful world premiere for Significant Other.

I’m thrilled to be bringing this new play to you, and I hope that you will share your thoughts on Significant Other after seeing the show. Please email me at artisticoffice@roundabouttheatre.org to let me know what you think.

I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Sincerely,

Todd Haimes
Artistic Director


Related Categories:
2014-2015 Season, From Todd Haimes, Significant Other


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Interview with Actor: Gideon Glick

Posted on: May 17th, 2015 by Ted Sod

 

Education dramaturg Ted Sod speaks with actor Gideon Glick about his role as Jordan in Significant Other.

 

SO-0005M-StandardArtFilesStandardArtFiles-300x300pxTed Sod: Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and educated? When and how did you realize you wanted to become an actor? Did you have any teachers who had a profound influence on you?

Gideon Glick: I was born in a suburb outside of Philadelphia called Lower Merion. After taking many leaves of absence, I just received my BA from NYU in Art History. I initially gravitated towards singing. Acting sort of sprang out of that as a means to participate in musicals. Growing up, I had a singing teacher who was an amazing champion of mine who helped build up my confidence, and I also count my therapist as one of the best teachers that I’ve ever had.

 

TS: Why did you choose to play the role of Jordan in Significant Other? How do you collaborate with a playwright and director on a world premiere?

GG: It’s always the role that initially excites me most about a play. The character is my first way of entry. This is the first time in almost a decade that I’m playing a character that is close to my age. Because of that, and because of my similarities to Jordan, I feel very close to this character instinctively, which is exciting.

In terms of collaboration, working on a new piece is always thrilling, as I’m sure most people would say, because the playwright is in the room and the piece itself evolves in response to what is happening in the room. It’s a lucky circumstance when you get to usher in new work, because you are able to ask the playwright and the director (who in a new work is always in dialogue with the playwright) an unlimited amount of questions.

 

TS: What do you think Significant Other is about? Does the play have personal resonance for you and, if so, how?

GG: The show follows Jordan as he begins to feel left behind by his friends as they mature into adult relationships with their respective partners. Consequently, the play reflects on the fears of living alone, dying alone, and being forgotten. Josh has written a very believable and contemporary character that I identify with and I believe others will, too. As a gay, neurotic Jew in his late 20s, I feel pretty akin to Jordan and what he is going through.

 

TS: How do you see the relationships between Jordan and the four women in his life: Laura, Vanessa, Kiki, and Helene? Do you think Jordan gets different needs met from each woman?

GG: Jordan relates to his three gal pals in different ways, ergo he gets different needs met through each friend. Since Helene is his grandmother, it’s hard to compare their bond to that of his friends. However, all four women are integral in how Jordan defines his life, either through comparison, or the feedback that he so greatly relies on.

Gideon Glick and Lindasay Mendez in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

Gideon Glick and Lindasay Mendez in rehearsal. Photo by Jenny Anderson.

 

TS: Do you think there is a special connection between gay men and straight women?

GG: I do. I can’t think of many reasons as to why, but gay men and straight women both share an inherent attraction to men, and attraction informs a large part of human nature.

 

TS: Can you share a bit about your process: How do you prepare for acting in a new work? When the play is contemporary, do you have to do any research?

GG: With this play, in particular, I had to do a lot of memorization before rehearsals began. Every work brings new and different challenges. Research is always helpful, regardless of whether the play is contemporary or not. However, Empathy is the greatest tool for preparation.

 

TS: Your character, Jordan, is on the precipice of being 30 and seems to have strong feelings about what that means. Will turning 30 be a traumatic event for you? Do you expect it to be?

GG: I relish it. I’ve always believed with age comes wisdom. And I find salt and pepper hair to be very attractive.

 

TS: How do keep yourself inspired as an artist? Do you see the work of your peers? Travel? Read? Go to museums?

GG: All of the above! I try to see as much as I can. I think it’s very important to support your friends and to stay current with what’s happening. I always try to have a book on hand, traveling is an excellent way of providing perspective, and studying Art History has made going to art museums way more fun than you can imagine.

 

TS: What other projects are you working on besides Significant Other? Do you aspire to direct or write? Or is acting enough for you?

GG: I’m currently just working on this show. Sometimes I write, but once it’s done, I usually find my writing to be so bad that I hide it somewhere and never look at it again.

 

TS: Do you have any advice for young people who want to be actors?

GG: Keep evolving. Keep reading plays, doing plays, but also be sure to expand your horizons as much as possible. You only have yourself to bring to your work. You are your palette, so give yourself as many colors as possible to paint with.

 


Significant Other begins previews May 21 at the Laura Pels Theatre. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2014-2015 Season, Significant Other


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