she’ll be dancing remotely: talking Magic Trick with Christina Roussos

I first saw Christina’s work at Pussy Fest, Caps Lock Theatre’s fundraising goodie bag of monologues by women, for women to perform (in which Homa Hynes performed my piece Karen, directed by Jordana Williams). The piece was open, honest, and direct, and Christina’s directing style is the same. I saw more of her work at NY Madness at H.E.R.E. (in which my play In Bloom was presented, under the direction of Zoe Metcalfe-Klaw, starring Brandon Jones and Nessa Norich), and loved what she did with Mariah MacCarthy’s play about a disastrous power play during a game of truth or dare at a sleepover. I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to come work on Sticky, and her work on my play Coursing Upstream, starring Michael Domitrovich and David Marcus, was insightful, daring, and sympathetic. When I got the email from Caps Lock that they’re remounting MacCarthy’s Magic Trick, I knew I had to talk to Christina about that process, where they’ve been, and where they’re going.


You’ve worked with Mariah a lot. What is the benefit of working with a writer over a period of time and projects?


The benefit of working with a writer over a period of time is that there is a lot of trust. Not just trust in the motives or abilities of the other person, though those are huge and really important when partnering up to make something. But my own trust in how I see and hear the play. Knowing each other for awhile and having conversations not only about plays, but life, makes reading her work and interpreting it much more full. All our time spent together allows me to see the play in brighter light. 


Trust is a big thing for me w collaborators. How did you come to trust each other?


I can’t speak for Mariah but I know I came to trust her by ​taking our professional relationship seriously, and seeing her do the same. We didn’t jump into assumptions and we treated the play we were working on like a really important job. It seems a little “no duh” to write that but I think when you’re young and working for free theres a looseness to things, or an idea that because it is art that it has to be personal.


When do you know that you had a shared vision for Magic Trick?


​But then of course the play touches me so much because it is so personal. In MAGIC TRICK Mariah is capturing a lot of truth ​about growing up and falling in love, or out of love, or figuring out whether you’re in love or not. We spent a lot of time talking about the play and little bit about our own experiences and that led to sharing a vision of what the play could be. I think it is also important to point out the amount of time we spent with the play before the fringe production. She and I first started talking in October 2011, we did a reading in March 2012 and then the fringe show in August of 2012. That’s a lot of lead up and I think it showed in the production. Along the way we did have disagreements but those moments of friction almost always led to big positive discoveries.


What do you think you’ll be able to do differently, or expand upon, in the longer run in a dedicated space?


I’m looking forward to diving deeper into the tech aspects, and taking over the space to create a fuller burlesque club atmosphere. We also have a great choreographer on board this time around named Sidney Erik Wright. Mostly I’m really excited to get into the room with this story again. I know that everyone who did it last time has grown in the past three years and I want to tap into that. The big conversation has been about not trying to recreate what we did last time, but to dream up a new fuller MAGIC TRICK using what we learned last time.


Do you think you can dance for the whole 360 minutes of the dance a thon?


I’m going​ to be bold and say that I can definitely dance for a full 6 hours. I was the one who showed up at the high school dance in stretch pants and an old T shirt ready to throw down, and 12 years later not much has changed. I might need a few more slow dances at this point.

Sadly I will not physically be at the dance a thon because I will be up at Bennington College in Vermont auditioning students for a workshop over the summer, but I am going to ask if I can dance remotely, so we’ll see!

Did you ever rave? Where did you go to high school?


​I went to Chelmsford High School, in Massachusetts and I did not rave. I was a classic theater nerd. In fact I was the Executive Director of the Theatre Guild at Chelmsford High and I remember having angsty door slamming fights with my parents because I’d stay up all night painting sets and not do my homework.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about MAGIC TRICK Libby! This show means so much to me.


“Caps Lock is DANCING FOR DOLLARS! Indie theater’s finest dancers will be shakin’ it to raise money per-minute for our August production of Magic Trick by Mariah MacCarthy. To sponsor your favorite dancer per minute danced (i.e. 10 cents/minute), just visit this link – or if you’d rather see our lovely faces in person, come dance with us at the event!!! You can buy tickets to come dance with us here. There will be dranks, streamers, and one killer six-hour playlist!”

Dancers are:
Kim Davies
Kim Gainer
Lauren Hennessy
Andy Izenson
Tinka Jonakova
Parker Leventer
Mariah MacCarthy
Tim McMath
Diana Oh
Cristina Pitter
Christina Roussos
Alexis Thomason
Stephanie Willing

MAGIC DANCE is on Saturday, May 16 from 6pm-midnight, at Primary Stages: 307 West 38th Street, Suite 1510

Magic Trick (previously produced in the 2012 New York Fringe Festival), a love story with burlesque, goes up in August/September at Theatre Row in a production directed by Christina Roussos and starring Diana Oh, Kim Gainer, and Ethan HovaClick here for more details on the show!

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