Meet Directors Salon Panelist Erica Schmidt

The 2nd Annual Working Theater Directors Salon is proud to launch our interview series with our 2011 Panelists.  Next week, we are having a Director Panel (April 12th), an Agent/Producer/Artistic Director Panel (April 13th), and a Designer Panel (April 15th) and are excited to introduce you to the amazing artists that will be speaking!

Below, Panelist Erica Schmidt shares her inspirations with us.  Erica recently directed Invasion! with The Play Company and Honey Brown Eyes at Working Theater.

Erica Schmidt

Q:  What kind of work inspires you?

A:  I am inspired by collaborations: Christine Jones’s set in collaboration with Michael Mayer’s direction on American Idiot; Carolyn Cantor’s direction in collaboration with David Korins’s set on Orange Flower Water; the whole team on I Am My Own Wife.  I am inspired by the weaving scene in Julie Taymor’s Spiderman; the choreography and direction of Billy Elliot and the whole of The National Theatre of Scotland’s Blackwatch.  I am inspired by David Cromer’s Our Town, Erik Ehn’s Rwanda Project, the kids and staff at the 52nd Street Project, Lady Gaga, Jeanette Winterson’s novels, Sarah Kane’s plays, Shakespeare, Odets and Chekhov, Michael Grandage’s Othello at the Donmar Warehouse with Chiwetel Ejiofor; the thoughtful patience that Arin Arbus brings to her work; Mark Wendland’s set for Merchant of Venice in the park; Sam Gold’s career; my brother’s service in Afghanistan; Peter Hall’s text work and Sienna Miller’s legs.  I am inspired by Adam Rapp’s prolifcicy; Jonas Hassan Khemiri’s short stories; Freja Beha and everything that makes me laugh.

Q:  What was the most difficult part about being an emerging director?  What were some of the challenges you faced in the early stages of your career?

A:  Do you mean what IS the most difficult part about being an emerging director?  I long to not feel emerging.  Difficult?  I don’t know.  I think the biggest early career challenge is paying the rent.  I don’t feel that I have properly pursued directing as a career.  I have taken a rather squirrelly route in pursuit of work I enjoy.  I find getting in the door, to do the work, challenging.

Q: What kind of advice would you give young directors?

A:  Do one thing every day to make the work you love happen.

Erica Schmidt’s directing credits include Invasion! (The Play Company); Honey Brown Eyes (The Working Theater); The Burnt Part Boys (The Vineyard and New York Stage and Film); Humor Abuse (co-creator/writer with performer Lorenzo Pisoni, at Manhattan Theatre Club, winner: Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics, Drama Desk and Obie Award); Rent (Tokyo); Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer and Copland’s The Tender Land (all at Bard Summer Scape); Carnival (The Paper Mill Playhouse); People Be Heard (Playwrights Horizons); Trust (The Play Company, Callaway Award nominee); As You Like It (The Public Theater/NYSF, chashama and New York International Fringe Festival 2000 Winner for Best Direction); Debbie Does Dallas (wrote the adaptation and directed Off-Broadway at the Jane Street); Spanish Girl (Second Stage Uptown);  R&J and Buried Child (The Juilliard School); Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards (The McCarter’s Berlind Theater, Princeton University).  Princess Grace Award recipient 2001.  Upcoming: Humor Abuse at ACT and Seattle Rep.

Erica Schmidt speaks at The 2nd Annual Working Theater Directors Salon’s Director Panel on Tuesday, April 12th at 7pm. Click here to reserve tickets.

For a full schedule of events, visit us on Facebook or go to the Directors Salon website.

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