A Walk Through Williamstown with Lila Neugebauer

A Walk Through Williamstown is our weekly series celebrating the town that supports WTF every summer, and the artists who return year after year. Every Sunday, join one of our artists as they chat with us at their favorite local spot.

LILA NEUGEBAUER [4th WTF Season] Favorite Williamstown Spot: Poker Flats Field
Current WTF Show: An Intervention (Director) playing August 12-23

1. Why are we in this spot? What does it mean to you?
The Festival’s free outdoor theatre happens here. For me, Free Theatre epitomizes what’s singular about Williamstown… a place where the seemingly impossible becomes possible by virtue of sheer adrenaline, creative vigor, and summertime will. With radically minimal resources and time, young artists create an immediate, immersive, hopefully raucous, populist theatrical event for the festival and local community. People drink beer and lemonade; they bring homemade lasagna and bug spray and sometimes even puppies. I directed Free Theatre in 2012 and directing outdoors for the first time was unforgettable. That project reunited me with some of my dearest Williamstown collaborators, and the opportunity to get that artistically silly, with a sense of purpose and rigor, was wildly joyful. This sunset is one of my favorite lighting cues I’ve gotten to harness to date. And I got to direct with a megaphone.

 2. What keeps you coming back to WTF?
An artistic home is an invaluable gift. I feel intensely lucky to have a few, and Williamstown is one of the closest to my heart because I cut my teeth here. I was a directing assistant, directed Free Theatre, was a Foeller Fellow, and this summer I’m directing on the Nikos. You have to work fast and fearlessly here; there isn’t time to second guess. That part can feel perilous, but it’s essential to the glue that binds you to the people you meet here. This festival has given me a space to evolve and forge relationships with collaborators who have become essential to my artistic life. Also: the Blue Ben diner in Vermont, Lickety Split ice cream, and the swimming hole.

3) Describe An Intervention in 5 words or less.
What do you owe a friend? (sorry that’s 6!)

4. If you were coming to see a free theatre show, what 3 items would you bring to the field?
A picnic blanket, a Hot Tomatoes pizza, and a six pack.

5. If you weren’t directing a show, what other job at the festival would you want to do?
Being Jessica Hecht. (…Oh, Michael Friedman already picked that?)  How about Justin Long? A close second.

Lila Neugebauer

[Photos: Paul Fox]