The Lyons Cast Interviews

Scott Alan Smith

The Road Theatre on Lankershim is proud to present The Lyons by Nicky Silver, a scathingly funny play about a dysfunctional family in the process of disintegration. The play opens Friday May 12. During the next several weeks we will feature the cast and creative team in our spotlight. This week it shines on veteran Road member Scott Alan Smith, director of The Lyons.

Tell our readers about directing The Lyons.

Working on The Lyons has been pure joy for me. I was excited to get a chance to direct it as I have been a fan of Nicky Silver’s plays for years. During the process I got a chance to talk to Nicky for over 90 minutes on the phone and we discussed the play in great depth and detail –as well as talking about theater folk we had in common and how to pack sensibly for an extended trip to England…We have also shared many emails where we have discussed the characters’ journeys and he has been exceptionally candid and available to our production.

What it is about?

The play concerns a family dealing with the impending death of the father-a topic that gets explored in a number of Lifetime or Hallmark Hall of Fame movies and in that way this play is deceptive. The Lyons family is more concerned with their own problems than they are with the death of the patriarch. In many ways it is about avoidance and the lies we tell ourselves to live a semblance of a “normal” life or at least one that we perceive is expected from us. There is great freedom in finally saying the truth out loud and the gift of Nicky Silver is that the truth is endlessly funny…as well as painfully real. It’s a wonderful play and it is full of great challenges for the actors.

Talk about your cast.

 

The cast-led by the hilarious sparring duo of Judith Scarpone and James Handy- is exceptional and came ready to dig deep and also to bond and create the family dynamics that this play absolutely demands. Each actor is bringing themselves to this work in a funny and moving way. We are double cast with the role of the nurse so hopefully returning audiences will get a chance to see two different takes on the same character. The Road is interested in the idea of completely double casting at some point and this is a small first step in that direction.

And your creative team? How are they helping to bring The Lyons to theatrical life?

 

The set design by Sarah B Brown is simply stunningly brilliant. It is one of my favorite sets ever and it does something that is so metaphorically perfect that I love it every time I see it. Lighting by Derrick McDaniel is spot on as always and subtle in its support of the moments. Derrick and I go back 10 years of working together. David B. Marling’s sound is a wonder as it always is and this is our 20th year working together-Dave and I also work together at Pepperdine. Costumes by Mary Jane Miller are exactingly detailed and always say something about the character and she and I are working on our 4thshow together. Prop design is by Amy Stoch, Christine Joelle with special props by Maurie Gonzalez who is also our stage manager and has stage managed every show I have directed at the Road since 2008 and is really the captain of the SS Lyons. I am assisted by the wonderful Melelani Satsuma and Kailee Rogers-a Pepperdine graduate who is also a promising young director.

Any final comments?

 

I am grateful to Taylor Gilbert and Sam Anderson for the support and encouragement during this entire process as well as their enthusiasm for this play. The production value rivals anything you would see on any major regional theatre stage and continues a tradition of bringing exceptional production design to the intimate 44 seat Lankershim space.

THE ROAD ON LANKERSHIM is located in the historic Lankershim Arts Center at 5108 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood.You may purchase tix by calling (818) 761-8838 or go online and visit lankershimartscenter.com There is street parking or $7 lot parking at 5125 Lankershim Blvd.