Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) is the Artistic Director of Native Voices at the Autry; the Director of SDSU's School of Theatre, Television, and Film; and, this summer, he will be directing The Red Road and Carbon Black for our Playwrights Retreat and Festival of New Plays. He was recently honored with the Citation of Achievement from his alma mater (William Jewell College) for achieved distinction in theatre arts; it is the highest honor bestowed upon WJC alumni. Randy's also on the Board of Directors for TYA/USA, the Advisory Committee for the Native Theater Festival at the Public Theatre, and a member of The National Theatre Conference.
Native Voices: You just returned from the Origins Festival in London where Salvage received its international premiere. Can you share a favorite memory with us?
Randy Reinholz: What a great trip we had. The performers were wonderful. The designers made it so easy to load their work into the space. The crew at Riverside Studios was wonderful. Jean and Shelia prepared very well and Craig Wolf was outstanding at getting everything into the space ready for production. Salvage looked as good in London as it did in Los Angeles, except on a stage that was three times the size as the stage at the Autry. The reviews were strong, but none from the major papers yet. Diane Glancy's work holds up in many situations. She is a gifted writer.
Salvage playing in London meant so much to me personally. As a classically trained actor, the British theatre is something to aspire to. I feel like the cast and crew of Native Voices' production of Salvage looked as good as anything we saw while we were in London, which included six other plays, one of which featured Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot.
Thanks to all the artists who made the show possible. Thanks to all the organizers, staff, crew and friends of Origins. It was an amazing festival.
NV: The first event Native Voices' hosted was a Festival of Native Plays fifteen years ago in Normal, Illinois and this year marks our sixth annual Playwrights Retreat. Can you reflect on the impact NV has had on Native writing and on the impact these festivals and retreats have had on NV?
RR: It is the stories - the stories are so moving, profound, metaphorical, and inspired. I am often physically tired when the work begins, but the power of the stories lifts me. I know these stories must be told, theatricalized in the highest terms, because at the heart of every tale is the search for healing - that is why the stories matter so much.
NV: Last year you were appointed Director of SDSU's School of Theatre, Television, and Film. How has it been managing your duties as Director with your responsibilities as Artistic Director of NV?
RR: Jean and Carlenne are inspiring partners in the work. Jean has so much experience and Carlenne the energy to make things better. I am blessed by these friends to carry the load and so lucky to have Jean's love.
NV: What drew you to the profession of theatre?
RR: The chance to tell stories, create worlds, and dream of a life that has more meaning than my family has ever known.
NV: What is your earliest theatrical memory?
RR: Seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the St. Louis Municipal Opera as a little boy. The next play I saw, I was in - The Miracle Worker, 1978.
NV: If you could go back in time, which era would you visit?
RR: I love now though I suppose pre-contact with the Choctaws or Irish would be interesting - maybe the 1300's.
NV: What's the longest standing item on your "To Do" list?
RR: Write a book called My Fathers about the men who have taught me what it means to be a man and an artist. Without these important men in my life, I might not have known how to live a creative life.
NV: What is your greatest indulgence?
RR: Wine - I love wine.
NV: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not ________.
RR: It's not theatre if it's not live and intimate.
NV: The 2009-2010 Season marks Native Voices' Tenth Anniversary at the Autry. Where do you think Native theatre will be in the next ten years?
RR: We will continue to refine our ability to use all aspects of theatre to connect all art forms and media to tell stories from multiple points of view to find the common truths that bind us together as a people. I look forward to the young leaders in our company taking control of the work and making art that astounds me and the audiences.
For more information about SDSU's School of Theatre, Television, and Film, please click here to visit their website.