Thursday, August 03, 2006


Glenn Paris came to San Diego and immediately began working at the San Diego Rep. He brought with him good, comfortable baggage that included talent as an actor and as a director. He’s fond of San Diego and as a result, we may be able to tap into this equity contract artist for quite some time and that’s a very good thing indeed. Here’s what he has to say:

Cuauhtémoc Q. Kish (CQK): At what age did you begin your acting/directing career?

Glenn Paris (GP): I began my acting career at the age of twelve (Richard III) and directing at the age of 15.

CQK: Tell me a little more about your directing debut if you will.

GP: I started a children’s theatre company called the “Minnisingers” when I was a teenager living in Hanover, New Hampshire. The concept was “kids-performing-for-kids” with our first production being Winnie the Pooh.

CQK: Are you from the East Coast?

GP: Actually I was born in Honolulu. Since my father was a career officer we moved around a bit (Boston, D.C., Oklahoma).

CQK: You have received both a BA and MFA in theatre, is that correct?

GP: I received a BA (Theatre) from Antioch College in Ohio and an MFA (Directing) from CMU (Carnegie Mellon University).

CQK: You were invited to join the staff at San Diego Rep initially as a fund raiser; how did you get experience in this field?

GP: I had received several internships at Antioch: Assistant Stage Manager of Seattle Rep and with some fund raising organizations in Massachusetts and LA including the Campaign for Economic Democracy (think Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden). My real training ground as a fundraiser/manager was with the New York Botanical Garden in NYC.

CQK: After securing your first degree did you head for the Big Apple to seek fame and fortune?

GP: Yes; I tried my hand at both acting and directing and secured my Union stripes. I worked in a few stage shows, wrote some, and mostly waited tables. After a few years I got accepted to CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) and where I trained with gifted individuals like Mel Shapiro.

[Some of Glenn’s directing credits include the following: Krapp’s Last Tape & Not I (New World Stage); Adam Baum and the Jew Movie (6th@Penn); The Last American Convertible (Carnegie Mellon Showcase of New Plays); After All (HB Playwrights);
The Bald Soprano (The Roundabout) and Rites (The Image Theatre).]

CQK: I understand that you worked with Paula Vogel.

GP: When I graduated CMU, the school gave me a fellowship to LA Theatre Center and I worked with Paula there on a production called And Baby Makes Seven.

CQK: Did you return to New York after your studies at CMU?

GP: Yes; I returned to New York and worked with Uta Hagen at the theatre next door to HB Studio, both of which were founded by her late husband (Herbert Bergoff).

CQK: What hat did you wear at this theatre with Ms. Hagen?

GP: As HP Playwrights Foundation’s first artistic director after Herbert, I wore about 7 different hats and it allowed me to work with many major theatre artists for a number of years. Uta Hagen remains—as you can imagine—one of my most profound mentors.

CQK: After Uta, where did you go?

GP: I co-founded a theatre company with another actor called Native Coasts and we developed a multi-media piece called Recovering the Dark, a play that delves into the topics of recovered memory and false memory.

CQK: And did you stay with Native Coasts for an extended time.

GP: After working with my own theatre company for awhile I found much needed employment as a fundraiser. I was soon recognized for my fundraising abilities and was elevated to executive positions. The experience in New York as a steward of fundraising assisted me in securing my job with the San Diego REP.

CQK: And the rest is history, right?

GP: The administrative experience at the Rep allowed me to connect with the San Diego Theatre community. I am excited with my new partnership with Claudio Raygoza and we have many plans for our new downtown theatre space, “New World Stage.”

CQK: What’s the biggest challenge in your life right now?

GP: Reconciling my multiple identities; becoming a stronger artist and a better person.

CQK: Are there any obstacles in achieving success as an artist, especially as a director?

[Glenn has received several awards for his work in the theatre including the Carnegie Mellon University West Coast Drama Clan Award: Distinguished achievement in Directing (overall work). He’s a member of AEA, AFTRA and SAG.)

GP: Those obstacles might include a misunderstanding of what actually defines success. Along the way there is that constant fear of failure and a fear of resistance to your point of view. One desires collaborators who will embrace building a team, all the way, from beginning to end, not in and out. Trust and intimacy are critical to the process of making a play. It’s a great challenge to achieve these qualities. Uta taught me to go as high as I can as an artist, and as a director/producer to be ready to make something beautiful with only human beings as my resource.

CQK: What do you bring to San Diego Theatre?

GP: A distinct point of view.

CQK: What’s one of your fondest memories in the theatre to date?

GP: My audition at the age of 12 for Richard III at the University of Oklahoma. Another very fond memory is the response to my direction of Hurly Burlyburly when Mel Shapiro told me the results I achieved were a tremendous advance. It meant a lot coming from someone with his pedigree.

CQK: At the end of your day what does the word “accomplishment” mean to you?

GP: Change.

CQK: What’s your favorite “theatrical” word?

GP: Dazzling.

CQK: If you somehow made the wrong turn and ended up facing the devil at the end of your life and career, what would you say to her (I try to alternate pronouns to achieve balance and fairness)?

GP: I went with my instincts.


And my instincts tell me that Glenn Paris is going to be a very positive influence on the San Diego Theatre Scene. Both he and Claudio Raygoza have a number of great projects planned for The New World Stage Theatre (an adaptation of The Sea Gull, a one-woman piece called Request Concert, and a production of Hurly Burly). With talented individuals like Glenn Paris we can only expand our theatrical plate and eat richly.


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