Philip Hernandez (PH): In regards to starting out in writing, you stress the importance of continually writing and editing; “editing is a way of continually trying to discover the core of the work itself: what needs to be there.” What is the next most important thing for budding artists?
(CS): Listening to the work is the next most important thing. Really listening. Not only to others read it aloud, but speaking it out loud yourself and listening to the heartbeat of the work. Every theatre text has an essential pulse, tempo, rhythm – something essential that carries through the various dynamics at work over the course of a play. This is why many people say “What is a play about?” I don’t think the question has to do with a “message” or “issue.” The “about” has to do with its heartbeat – where does the piece want to go, where does it want to touch the audience and how (if it does) sensually? Theatre is about the senses being awakened as much as it is about the perceptual shift(s) mentally that being open to a three-dimensional event in space demands from an audience..