Part 1: ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ at Round House Theatre: Meet Director Mitchell Hébert by Joel Markowitz

This is the first of a series of interviews with The director and the cast of Round House Theatre’s production of Glengarry Glen Ross. Meet Director Mitchell Hébert.

Director Mitchell Hébert. Photo by Danisha Crosby.

Director Mitchell Hébert. Photo by Danisha Crosby.

Joel: Why did you want to direct David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross?

Mitchell: The characters are sharply drawn, the stakes are very high, and language is electric.

What are some of the challenges you faced preparing to direct the show and working in the Round House space – and why the space is perfect for this production?

Round House is a large space, and at the same time, intimate. We worked to maximize both of those assets in our design approach.

How many actors came out for the auditions?

I’m not sure of the count. We saw many actors over a span of several months.

Why did you select Jeff Allin, Conrad Feininger, Rick Foucheux, Stephen Patrick Martin, KenYatta Rogers, Alexander Strain, and Jesse Terrill for your cast?

They “got it. I will say that the work these guys are doing is superb. They are going after this play with a fierce commitment.

What have you learned about yourself as a director in rehearsals?

I continue to love the highly collaborative nature of directing. One is surrounded by intelligent, thoughtful, incredibly talented people. It’s a joy to be in their presence.

How has your acting experience helped you direct this production? 

I’ve done many plays where activating the language is the key to bringing the characters to life  This play reminds me of the plays of George Walker, who once upon a time was a Round House mainstay. In performing Walker’s plays, you need to be right on the edge of not knowing what’s coming next, riding the language. This holds true for Glengarry as well.

Director Mitchell Hébert with actors KenYatta Rogers, Conrad Feininger, and Stephen Patrick Martin. Photo by Danisha Crosby.

Director Mitchell Hébert with actors KenYatta Rogers, Conrad Feininger, and Stephen Patrick Martin. Photo by Danisha Crosby.

What character is most like you?

Sorry, gonna say all of them.

What is your favorite scene in the show?

I particularly enjoy the scene where Roma and Levene team up to attempt to dupe James LIngk. It’s great to watch these guys “A” game.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Glengarry Glen Ross?

Hard to answer. Ideally, you want the audience to have their own experience.

What’s next for you on the stage?

How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Round House, and The Laramie Project at Ford’s Theatre in the fall.

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Glengarry Glen Ross plays through March 6, 2013 at Round House Theatre Bethesda – 4545 East-West Highway, in Bethesda, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (240) 644-1100, or purchase them online.

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