Q&A with Directors Salon Alum Tracy Cameron Francis on Saara Turnunen’s Broken Heart Story

After featuring Ingenue Theatre on the blog this summer, we are very excited that three of our Directors Salon Alums are coming together once again for Ingenue’s first full-length production, Saara Turnunen’s Broken Heart Story – director Tracy Cameron Francis, actor Rebecca Martinez, and actor/producer Isobel Bruce.  Perhaps what’s most interesting is that this is a new play from Finland, which opens my eyes as a director constantly on the hunt for the new “it” play that I want to pour my heart into – as emerging directors in New York, we’re so focused on meeting playwrights and going to readings to meet these playwrights and competing against the rest of New York’s directors for a chance to work with them – why not look outside this city?  Or this country, for that matter?    

Keep reading to find out how director Tracy Cameron Francis found Broken Heart Story and why she decided to bring it to life on this side of the pond – and make sure to catch one of the last three shows this weekend!

Adam Boncz and Rebecca Martinez in Broken Heart Story
Photo by Rivers Reed

Dina: Broken Heart Story is a Finnish play.  How did you find the script and what drew you to it?  As it’s a new play from overseas, has the playwright been able to be involved in the process?

Tracy: I met a literary agent from Finland at LaMama last year, and she began sending me scripts on occasion. Broken Heart Story was the second play I had read by Saara Turnunen, and I  connected really strongly with the themes, and was incredibly excited by the style of the text. While it is a new play, it is no longer in development so unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to involve the playwright in the process.

Celeste Muniz in Broken Heart Story
Photo by Rivers Reed

What have you discovered that has surprised you in the rehearsal process? What do you hope to accomplish and what has been a challenge?

When I am thinking of directing a play my first concern is always what the audience will connect to and take away, and I think what surprised me most about this process is how much I personally have taken away from the play, and continue to discover each time I see it. The greatest challenge ( and what is often the challenge in working off-off Broadway) is time. The more we dove into the play, the more I wanted to dive in. This is the type of play that you could spend months working on and would continually find new layers and images.

“If you could choose, which would you dedicate yourself to, art or love? You would only be able to choose one. And you would not have the other.”

This is the running tagline for Broken Heart Story – what is your own answer to this question?  Which one would you choose and which would you sacrifice (obviously in real life we can have both!)?

I think that you can’t have just one, because in order to be an artist you must live the fullest life possible otherwise you won’t have anything to bring to your art, and being in love isn’t enough either if you give up what you are passionate about. However I think it goes beyond just this idea of “love” vs. “art” and really calls into question the sometimes contradictory desires to make great contributions to the world either through our art or other means, or to just live a life of comfortable simplicity for ourselves.

Rebecca Martinez and Mary Notari in Broken Heart Story
Photo by Rivers Reed

What was the last production you saw that really inspired you?  

While I see shows that I love often- it isn’t so often that I see things that I would say inspire me. The last show I can think of off the top of my head that I felt inspired by was “Cries and Whispers” directed by Ivo Van Hove at BAM. His work in general is something that I find incredibly exciting as a director.

What’s next for you?

Next month I am directing a two different readings “Veils” by Tom Coash for id Theatre and then I am directing a reading of Amy Herzog’s “4000 Miles” for Boom Arts in Portland, OR.

Ingenue Theatre presents the hit Finnish play:
by: Saara Turunen (Finland)
Directed by: Tracy Cameron Francis
“If you had to choose, which would you dedicate yourself to: ART or LOVE?”Featuring Rebecca Martinez , Celeste Muniz, Adam Boncz, Isobel Bruce, and Mary Notari. 

Two week limited engagement!
Sept. 29, 7:30pm-followed by opening party
Sept 30, 6:30 & 8:30 ( press night)
Oct. 6 (6:30 & 8:30) 
Oct. 7, 2:00 followed by a closing day brunch
The Center for Performance Research
361 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Tickets are $18 and can be purchased through: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/275067Opening September 29, New York audiences will have the chance to experience the hit Finnish play “BROKEN HEART STORY” which will be presented as a multi-media movement-theatre work in english translation.Broken Heart Story is a story of art and love. A whiskered female author is searching for her soul to cure her incessant writer’s block. The themes of Capitalism and Death whirr around her brain as she strives to pen important and relevant work. The play urges us to question our choices, our identity and how to live an artistically fulfilling life. The play paints a poetic and absurd landscape that bubbles with humor and big questions.How do we balance artistic independence with love? And is love worth the price of that independence?

Producer: Isobel Bruce, Assistant Producer and Stage Manager: Kate Downey, Assistant Director: Eugene Ma, With original compositions by Ryan Anthony Francis, lighting by Mike Megliola, and video work by Jarrod Barretto.

Ingenue Theatre is a grassroots theatre company based in Bushwick, New York with a commitment to producing new works and cultivating collaborations between artists. 

Sponsored by: NORD Water, Northeast Kingdom, Guacoco Arepas, Mama Joy’s and Bushwick Kitchen. 
Artwork by Jarrod Barretto, Photos by Rivers Reed


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