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The Mass Media

Suburbia: Interview with the Director

Suburbia: Interview with the Director

In between performances of Suburbia, director Matt Flynn had a conversation with Desiree Metta. Suburbia was Flynn’s first time directing. He had a lot to talk about.

MM: The set is wicked cool. Tell me about that.

MF: Laura Shrader-Johnson and her Stage Craft class constructed the set. Together we formulated an idea for it, and she totally stayed true to it and made it happen. Definitely far and away the most realistic set I’ve ever seen here at school.

MM: Any Problems?

MF: Props were an issue. Finding a pay phone is a lot easier than it sounds. We didn’t really have too many major road-blocks. It was a pretty good first experience directing. Everything went well. The blocking of an ensemble cast was a challenge. Outside of that making everyone come together as a cast, as a crew, as a unit, because it’s an ensemble piece was a challenge I welcomed. It was fun.

MM: What is the theatre space like?

MF: It is a converted science lecture hall long. We didn’t have a theatre space. We weren’t allocated funds to provide to create one. So, we’re given a space luckily.

MM: As a director did you put your own spin on this play?

MF: I’ve never directed anything before. It’s the first time I’ve directed anything at all. I have always been a large advocator of “the script does the work”. So I stuck to the script. Any directorial choices that were made were made based upon the text. I don’t like deviating for artistic purposes of my own, from what’s been written.

MM: How do you think this play relates to the student body at UMass Boston?

MF: Everyone knows people like these kids; they don’t have a lot of race consciousness, they don’t have a lot of life experience, but they think they know everything just the same. Two issues were awareness of outside world, and there are a lot of race issues, which I think are important to raise.

MM: Through the experience of directing this play, how has it changed you, or made you become more aware as an individual?

MF: This has been an amazing experience on a lot of levels. It has prompted me to think about my childhood, about how I was raised and where I was raised in that community. I was born in Marshfield, Massachusetts, it is a beautiful town, but it represents all that is suburban. There is not a lot of culture, there is not a lot of diversity. There are plenty of people who think they know everything, you just have to ask them and they’ll tell you.

MM: What do you and the cast and crew like to do to relax?

MF: I brought a punching bag into the green room and kept it in storage for us to beat the tar out of when we needed to, just to vent, because it’s a high octane play, raises a lot of emotions. Some of the characters aren’t a lot of fun to embody for people because they are so horrible… There is so much angst in the play that relaxing really wasn’t something we could afford to do. We just tried to build the energy up more, and blow off some steam. Get together, go out to a movie, talk about the play, hit the punching bag, Scream, blare music, get riled up. Relaxation didn’t have a place in the rehearsal of this play. Every night the show is up now and we go out and breathe a little bit and relax because we have time to do that now.

MM: How was the cast?

MF: The cast is phenomenal. They are just a great group of people. They are just hard working people. Everyone gave everything they had to this.

MM: Who is Buff?

MF: Buff’s character is hysterical. He’s kind of a goof ball, kind of a dummy. He is more ignorant than he is stupid, but unlike other characters he doesn’t claim to know as much as the others. He’s the epitome of simplicity more than anything.

MM: What made you choose this play?

MF: Three years ago there was a play-writing teacher (who) was helping me through a tough time, and she recommended that I read this play. It impacted me more than anything else I’ve read. And it always had a special place in my heart. -Desiree Metta