During each run of an LCT3 show, I try to film interviews with artists from the cast or creative team. Before these meetings, I brainstorm questions that will hopefully elicit interesting responses for the videos. I recently sat down with Željko Ivanek, who is now appearing in SLOWGIRL, for one of these chats. Before speaking with Željko, I knew I wanted to ask him what it's like to be a part of the first show ever in the Claire Tow Theater.
I was expecting Željko to respond with thoughts about how nice it is to break in the new space and to be a part of a world premiere play in a new theater. I thought he would mention how beautiful the new space is and that it's been great to be back in the theater after working in television. I was right. He did say all of these things. But I was not anticipating the second part of his response.
"There is something moving about a theater space," he said. "It's not religious exactly, but there's something sacred about that. And to kind of know that you're one of the first ghosts that are going to be there forever is just an incredible feeling."
Ghosts? Did I miss something?
I know that there is some superstition involved when working in the theater, the example that immediately comes to my mind is the phrase "The Scottish Play." If you do not know what I mean, do a quick internet search for "theatrical superstitions." I cannot fully explain within this blog (I have become a little superstitious too.)
Though I know some artists have specific pre-show routines or "lucky" items in their dressing rooms, the notion of ghosts was new to me. This idea got me thinking about all of the posters that hang in the labyrinthine halls of Lincoln Center Theater. Some of the shows that are represented opened decades ago, but they, and everyone who was a part of them, are honored backstage. Oftentimes when I walk past a poster representing a show that I did not see, I wonder about the people who were a part of it and what the show must have been like.
I have lamented to some of my co-workers that I would have loved to see so many of these shows. They often respond by saying that some of them are on tape next door in the archives of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. But that's just not the same as being there in the flesh. That's one of the beauties of theater - it's so fleeting. When a show is gone we have the photos and the playbills and the posters, and, as I recently learned, the ghosts. The Vivian Beaumont Theater and the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater already have generations of ghosts within their halls, and when SLOWGIRL has finished its run, the Claire Tow Theater will have the beginning of its own community of ghosts.
It's thrilling to see who will become the first generation of ghosts in the Claire Tow Theater. And even for those who are brave enough to speak of "The Scottish Play," or who refuse to believe that the theater could be a religious place, all they will have to do is stroll through the halls of the Claire Tow to see who has come before them, frozen in time in the show posters and haunting (in a good way, of course), the new theater.
Rebecca Benen is the Digital Marketing Associate at Lincoln Center Theater. You can follow her on Twitter @LCTheater.