C. David Frankel
We caught up with Frankel, a theater professor at the University of South Florida as well as the artistic director and co-founder of Tampa Repertory Theatre, on Jan. 20 as Tampa Rep concluded its run of Sam Shepard's True West. When asked about his perception of Tampa Bay's theater community, Frankel, 61, talked about "an enormous amount of talent and variety.'' However, the Long Island, N.Y., native said he does see a need for theater groups to make sure "to reach out from both sides of the bay to make sure people know the different companies exist.''
He also acknowledged there is one ongoing challenge: traffic. "Driving across the bridges, traffic problems, can be a great inhibitor for both audiences and people getting to rehearsals. Maybe when that ferry starts (a high-speed ferry proposed between St. Petersburg and Tampa), it will help.'' Frankel holds a bachelor's degree from Hofstra University as well as a master of fine arts degree in directing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
What's on your nightstand?
The primary books I have out are the ones that I'm dealing with in class and in the productions. This week in one class we are doing Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, and in another class I'm working on An Experiment With an Air Pump (by Shelagh Stephenson). I also have Inherit the Wind (by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee) and The Iceman Cometh (Eugene O'Neill), which will be Tampa Rep's final production of the season.
In addition to plays, I do like to read other things. I just recently read House of the Rising Sun by James Lee Burke, The Crossing by Michael Connelly, The Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. I also recently re-read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I'm looking forward to starting Art, Vision, and Nineteenth-Century Realist Drama: Acts of Seeing by Amy Holzapfel. It focuses on the relationship between the visual arts in the 19th century and some of the plays in the 19th century. One of my classes is specifically about the 19th century playwrights, and the book looks at some particular plays.
I don't know why I'm surprised you read mysteries and science fiction.
I've been reading science fiction since I was a kid, but on the other hand, as someone who teaches, I recently was looking at Philosophy of Literary Form by Kenneth Burke. He is a philosopher of language, but he's often lumped in with critics. He focuses a lot on how we use language and how language is related to action. He's interested in what he calls symbolic action, which covers literature and arts and even visually imagery by extension.
Is there a current playwright we should have on our radar?
I think Lauren Gunderson, who wrote Silent Sky, a play that will be here, is one of those. She's won a number of awards for individual plays, and she just received the Lanford Wilson Award from the Dramatists Guild, which is given to an outstanding playwright early in his or her career. Her language is lovely and she comes up with great theatrical images. She is interested in exploring how history, and especially history of literature and science, continues to reverberate in the modern world.
Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.