Joanna Settle on directing 9 Parts of Desire and what she refuses to ask an actor to do

Director Joanna Settle is the other woman behind playwright/actor Heather Raffo's acclaimed 9 Parts of Desire as well as a slew of other award-winning productions. She has Genet to blame for this, but takes full responsibility for her troubled relationship with schnapps.

I knew I wanted to be in show business when I read Jean Genet's The Blacks: A Clown Show in undergraduate school. I knew I could stage that play. I thought, "If theater could be like this, I'm a director." I was 18, and I've been a director ever since.

The worst thing about being a director is the audition process. Everyone thinks auditioning is so hard on actors, but it's a terror for directors. What if the actor auditions well, and then is a mess in rehearsal?  What if they think I'm full of shit? A nightmare.

If I could be anyone other than myself it would be financier and philanthropist George Soros.

It's not entirely true, but I sometimes tell people that I'm not interested because I'm married. I mean, I am married. But for most of the guys that hit on women they don't know, "I'm married" is the only "No" they can hear.

I laugh uncontrollably at people falling down. Nothing like a good pratfall.

The one thing I absolutely refuse to ask an actor to do on stage is humor me. I expect actors to have their own voice, to challenge me if we need to get to the bottom of a difference in perspective. I think great art is a collision of different voices, not everyone getting on board with a single way of looking at the world. The final component, the last voice added, is the audience.

Currently I am reading God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens; Roast Chicken and Other Stories by British foodie Simon Hopkinson; and My First Movie, interviews with groundbreaking film directors on the making of their first films.

The first time I got drunk was the last time I ever tasted peach schnapps.

Like my father used to say, "It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich boy as it is to fall in love with a poor boy." I certainly never found that to be true, but what did he know? He also used to say, "Honey, there's been a little snafu. Come down to the station with bail?"

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela