Tell me about the play you are working on for Emerging Artists Theatre. What do you love most about this play?
I have the absolute privilege of directing Sex Work/Sex Play by Caytha Jentis. I think the thing I love most about this play is the relationships. For me, as a human, and as a director, I am always intrigued by relationships and what makes them work, and what makes them fall apart. The playwright presents us with fully realized characters struggling with topics that are certainly on everyone’s minds: love, sex, divorce, sexual promiscuity, sexual orientation, loneliness, to name a few. I particularly relate to the mother/daughter relationship in this piece of writing. As a mother of a 20-year-old, I am intrigued by the generational shift in how we speak to and communicate with our children and how, as parents, we keep up with the cultural shifts that seem to be changing and evolving every day. The characters in the play are all looking for love and fulfillment, and I know this is something the audience will find very relatable. Each of the characters finds different ways to seek these out, and they take the audience on a ride that is at once funny, poignant, sexy (think about the title), titillating, and sometimes heartbreaking. I’m thrilled to be bringing this piece to the world!
Can you tell us a little about your artistic process or background? How is that process being realized in your work on this play?
As a director, I like to get VERY specific. I like to challenge the actors with very specific questions that relate to their characters, and I like to get them thinking about ALL aspects of their characters, not just what we see on the written page. I think it’s important to base these characters in truth and to flesh out the details of their lives so that even under the most ridiculous or funny circumstances, the characters will remain real and relatable. I like to empower the actors to make strong choices and encourage them to collaborate with their own points of view on the character. For me, the process is hugely collaborative, from the design team to the playwright to the cast, and I welcome feedback and suggestions. It’s important for me to help the playwright realize their vision for the play, so I deeply respect the playwright and confer with them on all aspects of the writing. I am old school in my belief that we are all here to support the playwright.
How do you feel rehearsals are going? What is your vision for this piece or this project?
They say that 90% of any successful show is in the casting, and I really want to prescribe to that tenant. Our terrific cast is 110% vested in this project, so rehearsals are a dream. My vision for this project is to create a world in which the audience can totally relate to one or more of the characters, we have a sell-out crowd every night, and get these fantastic actors booked for their next show! I also very much want to fulfill the playwright’s vision of the show with this first fully realized production.
Is there anything important or meaningful about this piece to you?
This piece is meaningful to me because the female characters are fully fleshed out, and all three are really wonderful, badass women who make decisions for themselves and are not waiting for the men in their lives to fix their problems. It’s wonderful working on a show with such strong female characters and where the men are there for comic relief, so to speak. The women, particularly Alex, really drive the show, and she is such a relatable character, I hope the audience falls in love with her!
To get tickets to Sex Work/Sex Play, Click Here.
Briskly and sharply directed by Rosie Gunther, Sex Work/Sex Play occasionally feels like an adults-only sitcom, with a talented, energetic ensemble cast who know how to be funny. – Lavender After Dark
Rosie Gunther (Director) Rosie has been working in the theater since she was a youngster and loves the opportunity to work with Emerging Artists on original material. After earning her MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, she began her professional acting career in the “soaps” as “Young Vicky.” Over the years, she appeared in several independent films, including A Case of Blue, Shutterflies, The Jersey Devil, and Bad Parents. She has been involved in just about every Caytha Jentis project out there and originated several roles with the New Jersey Playwrights Festival. She has a Broadway co-producer credit for Bandstand and has had the absolute pleasure of working with hundreds of children, teens, and adults over the past twenty years directing musical theatre and plays in NJ, NY, and California. She most recently partnered up with Actor Technique NY to direct a production of Matilda that was performed at the American Theatre for Actors in NYC. Rosie would like to thank her wonderful cast and production team and especially Paul for carrying the EAT torch for the past 30 years. A special shout-out to Sean, the best stage husband out there!