Behind The Scenes with The Play That Goes Wrong
Lisa Condit spoke with Matt DiCarlo, director of The Play That Goes Wrong, coming to The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts October 31 through November 3. Read on for highlights from the interview or listen to the full interview below, then tune in to Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews!
Lisa: I’m excited for The Play That Goes Wrong to come to The Hanover Theatre because we have absolutely nothing like it on our schedule.
Matt: The Play That Goes Wrong is unlike anything I’ve ever worked on. It is, in every sense of the word, a comedy for everybody. I have watched the show hundreds of times, with little kids, with adults, with teenagers. It is an exciting, thrilling play within a play that really does deliver nonstop laughs for two hours.
Lisa: You’ve been with the play for a while. I read an interview that said you were the one making sure that everything was running smoothly. What’s funny is that it’s a show where everything goes wrong.
Matt: It is my job to make sure that everything goes wrong the right way. My journey with the show started a couple of years ago. I was the production stage manager for the show on Broadway when the original company came over to do the show from London. I continued on as the associate director when they got replaced by an American company. After that I directed the national tour that is touring the country now. We also have an off-Broadway production that is running in midtown Manhattan, and I take care of that one, too. It is the most incredible family of people that works on this show. Such an unbelievably inclusive, family atmosphere. Everybody takes huge pride in being able to work on it.
Lisa: For us, this is a fresh approach to a major title on our stage. What did you think the first time you saw it?
Matt: I laughed my face off! I watched the show thinking this show has so many moving parts. There is so much to it. It functions like a musical. Plays like this don’t often get the opportunity to have this kind of reach. I think it gives people across the country, who normally only get the big musical titles to come to their cities, the opportunity to see something different, something that will not disappoint, but will really surprise in how fun and exciting it is.
Lisa: What would you say to people who want to have a career in the performing arts even if you’re not the one in the center of the stage.
Matt: Like many young people, I started off wanting to be an actor. I applied to lots of different colleges and did research on lots of different jobs in the theatre. And it’s true, there are dozens and dozens of people involved in making shows come to life. I feel that I’ve had some incredible opportunities. It’s so important to learn as much as you can about every aspect of theater. Everybody should understand what it takes to direct a scene, to sew a costume, to build a piece of scenery. In an artform that is so collaborative, its so important that we all have a mutual understanding and respect for all the different cogs in the wheel. I encourage everybody who is studying theater to study all parts of it. You may find something that you enjoy doing that is totally different than what you were starting out to do.
Lisa: What are the best things that you look for in people you are working with?
Matt: Be the best version of you. Make sure you are somebody who is open and willing, who is collaborative and brings what they do best to the table. As corny as it sounds, be a light in the room. We should enjoy what we are doing. We get to tell stories for a living. I tell people to trust that, enjoy it and know that the business comes with lots of yeses and lots of nos. The nos are often not about you. Learn how to recover from the word no.
Lisa: That is useful in whatever you do! How many people do you have in the cast making the magic?
Matt: Eight people in the cast and there are four understudies.
Lisa: How do you keep them all happy?
Matt: It is hard not to love your job when you get to have thousands of people laugh at you eight times a week. Everybody who is involved with The Play That Goes Wrong shares an experience of really getting a thrill seeing so may people having such a good time.
Lisa: Anything else?
Matt: Enjoy the play and laugh your face off!
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