Casting director turned producer Jen Rudolph makes her off-Broadway debut with “Love and Human Remains,” a play she’s been drawn to since college that explores the dark corners of the human psyche.
The play runs through August 2, 2014, at the Peter J Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons. Click for details and tickets.
She talked to Lesbian.com about her first production, what’s in it for lesbians and what’s next for her.
The subject matter seems quite dark. What drew you to “Love and Human Remains”?
I first became acquainted with “Love and Human Remains” when I was an undergrad at Ithaca College. The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca was doing a regional production of it. When I saw the poster for the show, it spoke to me. The people depicted in it were attractive, but all looked lost and longing for something. It was like they were communicating “that in which we do not speak of” without words. The sides of ourselves that we hide with make-up, perfectionistic behavior and the ever-elusive smile. Things looked fine but they weren’t. They really weren’t. What was this show? I saw it that night. And then again the next night. And then one more time before it closed.
What I love about this play is that it really gets right to the heart of every matter without any fluff. It goes into every dark corner of one’s psyche and reveals the underpinings of what makes someone tick. These characters depict the loneliness we all feel from time to time. They experience lust, hate, obsession, depression, you name it.
The seven characters in this play are all people who we know. It is so easy in NYC to get lost in the traffic that is constantly around us. The literal traffic, the traffic of our lives, in our heads. This play is so important to me and I wanted to share it with everyone out there.
By watching the seven characters go through their lives and feel such strong emotions that we don’t want to deal with in ourselves we connect. We gain acceptance. We learn that it’s all OK. As someone gay, I feel passionately that this is a very important play for the gay community to get into and experience. It explores everything we have been through at one time or another or have obsessed about. It goes there. It’s raw, primal and unapologetic. We all know the pain that goes along with falling for a straight woman, becoming a bit obsessed and wanting her. We’ve all been there. Jerri (played by Cassandra Paras), a very Shane-like L Word character but a bit less defended and more wounded, meets Candy (played by Kerri Lynn Miller) a quirky, neurotic, tantalizing straight woman who is looking for love and attention. Candy fits the fantasy for a lot of gay women. Maybe I can get her to love me? You know how that goes. David (played by Zach McCoy) reminds me a lot of Gale Harold’s character Brian Kinney from “Queer As Folk” and he gets involved with a much younger guy, Kane, (played by Paul Castro Jr.) and the issues around discovering one’s sexuality and vulnerability come into play for both characters. There are other gay situations that come into play but I don’t want to give too much away so I guess you’ll just have to come and see it.
In general, how do you choose projects to produce?
I choose projects based on if they can make me feel a flurry of emotions all at once. “Love and Human Remains” makes me feel turned on, afraid, disturbed, excited and then some. That to me is the full theatrical, life experience.
What was it like working with playwright Brad Fraser?
Brad has been so supportive and amazing to work with. He has been there to answer any questions and has been super on board with our production and has championed my efforts.
How has the play been received so far?
I think NYC is surprised that a place written in 1989 can still have such an impact. The play is a lot to handle but those who can have received it well. The critics are enjoying it overall.
What challenges did you face bringing this to the stage?
It is such a fast-moving play and is a beast in terms of lighting and staging and locations. My team has made it all happen seamlessly with sheer genius.
What’s next for you?
I’m thinking about “Venus in Fur.” I am also interested in producing the American film version of “Love and Human Remains.”