Interview Column: Gabe Walker '19
This week, justArts spoke with Gabe Walker ’19, who is directing Tympanium Euphorium’s production of “Urinetown,” which will be performed this weekend.
justArts: Is this your first time directing?
Gabe Walker: It is not. It is my first time directing something at Brandeis, but I directed a little bit when I was in high school, as well as some stuff in my area.
JA: How did you decide you wanted to direct “Urinetown”?
GW: Well, it’s actually funny. When I initially applied, the show wasn’t “Urinetown.” Last spring, [Tympanium Euphorium] voted to do “Rent,” so I applied to direct “Rent,” and I was accepted, and immediately after I was accepted, we actually found out that we couldn’t get the rights. So then they just put it out for a vote to the community, and “Urinetown” won. So it’s kind of a weird way how I ended up directing “Urinetown,” but I was really excited. I mean, “Rent” would have been a great show, but “Urinetown” is one of my favorite musicals.
JA: What’s been your favorite part of directing?
GW: You know, that’s hard. I mean, just being in tech week now, it’s always so amazing, you know, because you’re in rehearsals, you’re in Upper Sherman, or Levin Ballroom or wherever, and you’re trying to work on this blocking and this choreography, and it looks good in those spaces, but you always get nervous about how it’s going to end up looking on the stage. So really, for me, it’s just been so cool lately to see all the actors being on the stage and now just watching the show come together. I’ve really enjoyed it.
JA: What’s been the most challenging part?
GW: Well, “Urinetown” is a very large cast — we have a little over 20 people — and there are certainly some rehearsals when we have everyone called. As a director, when I’m trying to lead rehearsals, it can be difficult. But all of my actors are very, very talented and very hardworking, so even that hasn’t really been too much of an issue, because they have been very dedicated.
JA: Is there any important message you hope the audience takes away from the show?
GW: “Urinetown” is a very politically charged show, so the message of the show has definitely changed a little bit over the past week as a result of the presidential election. And it’s made me do a lot of rethinking; I’ve talked to the actors about some of the messages [and] how they fit into our current political [state]. So, if there’s one message I want people to take away from it, I hope that this allows people to think critically about some of the decisions that they make, kind of in the way that the society is shaped, and their role in it. And I certainly hope that it makes people ask those sort of questions. But at the same time this is also a musical about peeing, so I also hope that it just kind of allows [the audience] to take a break from the very harsh political climate we’re in and enjoy it for a couple of hours, just escape.