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An Interview with Ruth Wolff

By Gary Wien


The play was originally called The Aviators. I'm guessing you changed it because of the film.
How did you guess that? Beyond Gravity is a better title actually. Everybody kept asking, "who's the aviator?" So this is more philosophical or something like that... more interesting.

The play is really being marketed in a very vague way...
I know. It's because it's a complex play. I can't come up with one sentence but I'll try. It's about an academic couple, it takes place in a college that's nameless, in a house by the sea. They've been married for over 20 years and are facing a personal and professional crisis when a mysterious young woman enters their lives.

The meaning of Beyond Gravity is that gravity is the force that holds you down and going beyond gravity is somehow being able to life up above that. Some things that happened in their past now explode and the way the woman deals with it is through her imagination and the way the husband deals with it is kind of through sarcasm and wit.

It's a play about marriage and that's a subject that I've come back to again and again in a lot of my plays. Marriage is a basic thing and I'm just very interested in that relationship; why some stay together and some break apart. Some marriages that have a lot of challenges manage to stay together. Like the Clintons and the Roosevelts for example. You can name an awful lot of those and there's a lot of drama in that.

Is it more of a drama or a drama with comedic elements?
It's kind of a mixture. I'll be happy to have any laugh I can get! I love to have laughter in the midst of a lot of angst.
How does the play run?
It's four scenes played without intermission.

This is the world premiere, right?
Yes, this is the world premiere. It's also going to be done at the Barter Theatre in September to November. The Barter did my play, "The Second Mrs. Wilson" which is about Woodrow Wilson and his second wife. That play opened the week of September 11th. It was very strange because a lot of the themes in that were very apt.

What does the set look like?
It's an interior. The play takes place in one room and there are elements which keep it less than totally real. I like to do things where people are using their imagination. I've never loved realism. And so I like when the sets have a kind of abstractism to them.

In addition to plays, you have also written a few screenplays. How do you find the difference between writing for film and for the stage?
I happen to love both. I love words, but I also love images.

Your plays have been produced all over the place, yet you hold the traditional playwright's home in New York City. What are your thoughts on regional theatre?
I think it's wonderful. I say this before everyone comes here, of course! I feel protected. I feel nurtured certainly and the Barabas' are wonderful. They just tenderly let every one of their plays grow. They will also be doing a reading of my newest play, "Shakespeare Road" on May 2nd.

What would you like an audience member to leave with?
I hope they are able to both feel and to think. I hope they'll be moved. I am! I'm always like, 'where's my Kleenez!' because the actors are terrific and they get me every time. I know this play. I really know the play, but they're marvelous and they make things very moving and they make me laugh. I would like an audience to feel that way too.



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Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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