The third FEED post-show chat in our series for ELECTIVE AFFINITIES was a Creative Team Talk with director Sarah Benson and designer Louisa Thompson. Benson and Thompson have a long working relationship and this play exposed that relationship to even more theatrical challenges due to the site-specific nature of the event. The chat was moderated by Raphael Martin, Soho Rep’s Literary & Humanities Manager.
Sarah Benson has been the Artistic Director of Soho Rep since 2007. New York credits include: Gregory Moss’ Orange, Hat & Grace (Soho Rep; world premiere); Polly Stenham’s That Face (Manhattan Theatre Club; American Premiere); Sarah Kane’s Blasted (Soho Rep; NY Premiere) for which Benson received a Drama Desk nomination and OBIE award. She recently directed the world premiere of Gregory Moss’ House of Gold (Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC) and Sophocles’ Ajax (A.R.T. in Boston). She has also worked on new plays at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, New York Stage & Film, and New Dramatists. Upcoming: Futurity (a new musical with The Lisps at A.R.T. and Walker Center) and the world premiere of Richard Maxwell’s Samara (Soho Rep). At Soho Rep, Benson has commissioned and produced work by artists including Annie Baker, Dan LeFranc, Thomas Bradshaw, Cynthia Hopkins, Jomama Jones, Young Jean Lee, John Jesurun, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma and Anne Washburn. This work has been recognized with six OBIE awards, four Drama Desk nominations, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award. Benson moved to New York from London on a Fulbright for Theatre Direction. She has served as a mentor in the directing programs at Yale University and NYU.
LOUISA THOMPSON Off-Broadway credits include: This, Manic Flight Reaction (Playwright’s Horizons); Fat Pig, The Distance from Here (MCC Theatre); The Roaring Girle, (The Foundry Theatre Company). Other New York credits include: GATZ (Elevator Repair Service/The Public Theatre); Blasted (Obie and Hewes Award), [sic] (Obie and Hewes Awards), Suitcase, Molly’s Dream, The Year of the Baby (Soho Repertory Theatre); The Cherry Orchard (SALT Theatre); Tulpa (Target Margin Theatre); Max and Ruby, Walk Two Moons, First in Flight, Just so Stories (Theatreworks/USA); Arabian Night, Tex Arcana Waltz, No. 11 Blue and White (The Play Company). Regional Credits: Arden Theatre; Bard Summerscape, The McCarter Theatre, The Papermill Playhouse, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, La Jolla Playhouse; The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis; Philadelphia Theatre Company; Geva Theatre; Triad Stage; The Empty Space Theatre; Yale Repertory Theatre; The Juilliard School. M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama. Associate Professor at Hunter College New York.