Masterly observation of human behavior. Like the Predator.

Masterly observation of human behavior. Like the Predator.

Today we’ll be playing squash with Laura Hooper, director of Joseph Zettelmaier’s The Monroe County Pumpkin Queen. Laura has been an actor and director for over 15 years, and has worked with theatres including Steppenwolf, American Theater Company and The Alley Theatre, but we know and love her as Molly from Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with a B.A. in Theatre and Dance, as well as The Steppenwolf School, where she first discovered Meisner and Viewpoints. Laura eventually returned to The Steppenwolf School as a Meisner instructor, has also taught at University of Chicago, Columbia College and The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She opened the doors at Black Box Acting in January of 2009, and will be opening the school’s new permanent home to students in January of 2014. Laura recently co-directed House of Yes at University of Chicago with fellow Black Boxer, Audrey Francis, is directing for Step Up Productions’ HoliDAZE, which begins previews on November 30th. Today, Laura will talk to us about her love of Horror, the power of the human spirit, and What Scares Her.

How did you get into horror?

I have loved horror my whole life – when I was 9 I watched all the classic scary movies with my parents.  I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV… but horror movies?  No problem!

What excites you most about directing horror, compared to other genres?

I LOVE the supernatural.  I LOVE high stakes circumstances.  And I have a crazy imagination.  I believe actors (and all humans) can truly believe in any circumstance, even supernatural… So to direct a horror script, with awesome actors, believing in supernatural circumstances, is a good step for me.

What in this script resonated most with you?

The idea that jealousy can be as destructive and powerful to the human spirit as a hurricane can be to a huge city.  Oh… and I loved the humor.  I was laughing out loud and rolling around.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in directing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Focusing on telling the story primarily through sound has awoken a sense I don’t focus on a lot.  I tend to be more visual.

What discoveries have you made about storytelling during this process that you are excited to use in future projects?

Sound is crucial and there are more possibilities than I realized before.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

A body exploding.

What was your favorite moment when you played the Zombie in The Revenants by Scott Barsotti?

The moment when the chain around my waist “gently” dropped to the floor. I was a zombie! So I had to make a move.  I was a zombie on the loose, in the audience.  The audience was scrambling out of their seats and freaking out. Brian Amidei (my fellow zombie) helped “capture” me and get me put back into the “safe space” within my chains.  Good save, Amidei.

I've never wanted saving less in my life.

I’ve never wanted saving less in my life.

What scares you?

Bad acting…. and being buried alive.

Laura Hooper will be protecting us from bad acting (no promises about the other thing) when we present The Monroe County Pumpkin Queen in Deathscribe 2013 at The Mayne Stage Theatre on Monday, December 2nd!

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