Cap T: Thirteen Years in Austin
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Interview with Precious Little Talent Director Scott Tipton

8 February 2012

recious Little Talent Director Scott Tipton was kind enough to answer some questions from our Artistic Director Mark Pickell regarding his childhood, New Directions, and what he wants people to take away from PLT.

How did you end up in Austin and why did you apply for the New Directions program?

I have always wanted to live in the Austin area. So, when an opportunity to move here presented itself my wife and I were to quick to move on it. Life is better in Austin, Texas! I have been a supporter of CAPITAL T for several years and was excited to have an opportunity to be involved with one of their productions – the New Directions program seemed an ideal way to get involved with the company.

What was the first thing you ever directed for an audience?

In high school I directed a One-Act Play adaptation of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.

When was the moment you got bit by the theatre bug?

When I was 13 (while living in London) I saw one of the closing performances of Lee Blessing’s A WALK IN THE WOODS. This production featured Edward Hermann and Sir Alec Guinness (of STAR WARS fame – thrilling for a teenage fan of the ‘original’ trilogy). The production turned out to be the retirement of ‘Obi-Wan’ from the West End.

If you could direct any show here in Austin what show would you love to share with the Austin community?

A play I’m very interested in directing is Adam Rapp’s THE METAL CHILDREN. In my opinion, it poses some very relevant questions about contemporary issues not discussed enough in current plays (ie. teen pregnancy pacts, abortion, etc). Also, I’m always drawn to ambiguous characters (on a journey towards redemption) who must make a journey
towards some form of ‘truth’? Truth, as we all know, is oftentimes not attractive. It is this darkness (combined with absurdity) of contemporary situations that truly intrigues me.

You are directing the first production in the United States ( or for that matter the first production outside the UK) of Precious Little Talent. What are your thoughts on this honor?

It is ALWAYS an exciting opportunity to direct a production that has had little exposure – but when the script is a US Premiere it seems to double the stakes. Obviously, as storytellers we HOPE our work is innovative and inspiring to others. It is a great honor to be ‘entrusted’ with the responsibility of being one of the first individuals who introduces the playwrights story. In particular, when one is working with a script of the literary quality of Precious Little Talent.

You spent some time in London while you were growing up, how did you end up over there and what was that experience like for you? How do you think this production has benefited from that experience?

In my formative years, I was incredibly fortunate that my father’s executive position led us to several locations across the globe. My favorite of these was London, England. This was not only the place I first discovered theatre but (as a teenager) the place I first began to discover who I was.. I think these personal experiences allowed me some very specific insight into the nature of the relationships and cultural identity of the English characters in the script.

You have never worked with any of these actors before, what has it been like to work with this group of actors?

Working with professionals you have never met is a challenge (in particular, for those who work in educational theatre – where the mantra “YOU are always auditioning!” is key to the development of any young actor).. The professional process is much more like selecting ‘partners’ to go into ‘war’ with – they challenge, make choices, and take risks that students would never have the courage and/or experience to press during a rehearsal. It is VERY inspirational!

What’s next for Scott Tipton?

As a theatre educator in Texas, my next venture will be into the UIL One-Act Play world – we will be working on Steven Dietz’s PARAGON SPRINGS (a free adaptation of Ibsen’s AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE) Also, it has been several years since I’ve acted and have been thinking about auditioning in the near future.

What do you hope the audience is talking about when they leave Precious Little Talent?

I hope people leave PRECIOUS LITTLE TALENT remembering a time in their life where they were idealistic and hopeful! A time where obstacles didn’t seem so insurmountable. Also, that revolution and change don’t come easy – it starts with the commitment of one person – its easy to commit to something that is ‘popular’ tickets for the train of change are plentiful at the beginning of the journey but are much more scarce once the train has partially derailed!