Friday, February 26, 2010


I met Emily when she was a freshman at Pace University (and I was a senior). We were in The Trojan Women together. Now Emily is a senior and I'm, well, getting old... haha. Time flies. Emily is multi talented - an actor, costumer and academic. I loved hearing her aspirations beyond graduation from Pace University this spring. She has great plans and a great vision!

1. Who Are You?

Emily Temple, a 21 year old senior BFA acting major, Women’s and Gender Studies minor at Pace University.

2. What do you believe in?
God; true equality and acceptance of all people no matter what background they come from, what color their skin is, or what their sexual orientation is; instant gratification takes too long; and sometimes there is nothing like a good book or a good movie to make a horrible day better.

3. What kind of change do you want to see? Where do you see yourself fitting into your idea for change?
I would love to see people begin to take a more active and educated role in government instead of blindly following what the media tells them is right, as well as a move away from discrimination that stems from race, sexual orientation, or religious background. Coming from a small town in the south I know how damaging this kind of blind ignorance can be, and I have done my best and will continue to strive to open people’s eyes to the fact that we aren’t really all that different when you get down to it, every person deserves to be loved for who they are and what they believe regardless of what that is.

4. If your life had a soundtrack what would be on it?
More Beautiful You-Jonny Diaz, Rhapsody in Blue, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra (yes I’m old school), Boondocks-Little Big Town, Breathe-Anna Nalick, and Love Song-Sara Bareilles.

5. If you could be doing anything with your life right now what would it be?
Working on Broadway as an actress or a costumer or back in India teaching in orphanages and doing street theater.

6. I Can't Live Without...
Music, old Julie Andrews’ movies, chocolate, and my friends and family.

7. What are you craving right now?
A chance to move beyond Pace and work professionally in the arts that I love so much, and some good old fashioned southern cooking.

8. Talk about a piece of art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life...
The first time I read The Miracle Worker by William Gibson I realized just how impactful theatre can really be; as actors we take real people and real stories and make them accessible to an audience in a way that they may not have previously been able to experience. At the time I was babysitting a little girl who had been born with half a heart and had delayed motor skills due to damage from extensive surgeries she’d had, and who’d been told she would never speak. I began teaching her sign language (much like Anne Sullivan teaches Helen in The Miracle Worker) as a way to teach her to communicate, and within four months she was speaking, my name was the fifth word she learned to say. Several years later I was fortunate enough to play Anne Sullivan in a production of the show with the Virginia Courthouse Players, and I can truly say that show and that little girl changed the path my life has taken.

9. What motivates you to do what you do?
“To whom much is given much is expected” I have been very blessed in my life and I feel it’s my responsibility to not take those blessings for granted, but to instead make an effort to make someone else’s life better.

10. If you were best friends with any historical figure who would it be and why?
It’s impossible to pick just one so I have a few:
Anne Sullivan because she was a brilliant teacher, thinker, and woman and I’m so in awe of the work she did, Mother Teresa because of the incredible work she did in India, specifically with the Dalit caste that I hold so dear to my heart because of the limited work I got to do with them when I was 17, and finally Emily Dickinson because there is just something so fascinating and mysterious about her that I think it would be interesting to be one of the few confidants she had in her life.

11. If you were a character in your favorite fictional storyline (this could include a book, play, film, television series etc.) what would it be? How would your character be intertwined within the story line that already exists?
As cliché as this is, I’d want to be in The Sound of Music (the film not the play), maybe as one of Maria’s friends, just some excuse to be in a movie singing with Julie Andrews and running around the hills in Austria. There’s just something really happy about that movie (even though the ending is a bit of a downer) that would be fun to be a part of.

12. Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
I recently found out that I have a life threatening heart condition that is pretty much nonexistent in people my age, and this revelation made me look at my life in a whole new way. I could have found out about this condition much sooner and been able to prevent it from worsening to the level it has by altering the way I lived my life, but then I would have missed out on so much of my life that has made me who I am. I never would have been able to play sports as a kid, go swimming in the river and water skiing with friends after school, I wouldn’t have been able to spend the summer before my senior year of high school in India working with orphans and lepers (an experience which truly changed my life), and I never would have been able to move to New York and become the woman I am today. I have a greater understanding of the importance of life because of the way I have lived it thus far and now because I know my life may be shorter than that of the average person, and I’m incredibly grateful I didn’t find out about it until now because it allowed me to have a well rounded childhood and early adulthood, and it gives me something to fight for now that I know I have to fight.

13.Talk about the best day ever.
Sleeping in, having breakfast with my family, going for a walk by the river, spending the afternoon reading and hanging out with friends, going out for a relaxed dinner with my closest friends and family and seeing a show or watching a movie-just a simple relaxing day.

14. Who is/are your hero(es)?
My mother

15. Create a mandatory reading list for the world:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Because of Romek by David Farber

For more pictures of Emily, visit:

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's my pleasure to introduce one of my favorite people in the world (and partner in crime), Robert Gonyo. He is the co-founder/artistic director of Co-Op Theatre East (, a brilliant musician, writer, director and actor. Most importantly, Robby is probably one of the kindest and genuine person you'll ever meet. He holds his Master's from NYU-Tisch in Performance Studies and undergraduate degrees in theatre and political science. It was a well known fact in graduate school (and still stands today) that Robert makes the BEST blueberry muffins you'll ever have (from scratch). If you're lucky enough to get hold of one of these muffins or any of his Caribbean cooking, you'll be very satisfied. You can check out some of his acting work in COTE's next show, "Decadent Acts". Additionally, you can find out more about Robby by visiting

Who are you?
A theatre artist & musician currently living in Brooklyn, NY.

What do you believe in?
Democracy and art.

What kind of change do you want to see?

Engagement with the political process by every citizen of every nation everywhere. A more rigorous, challenging, interesting, and fair public education system. Less screens/more scenes. Less arts bureaucracy, more art.

If you could be doing anything with your life right now, what would it be?
I'd almost like to be able to skip a few steps of the journey on my way to being a respected director, actor, and songwriter, but I think I've finally learned that there's no way to be where I want to be without the slog I'm in now. This slog, however, is so much better than other slogs I've been through...

I can't live without...
Good theatre, good music, my best friends, black licorice, delicious congrís, my cat Compay, and a little Havana Club now and again.

What are you craving right now?
A new play to direct. Something in the lineage of great American playwrights like Miller, Albee and Mamet, but which is completely original. I don't claim to be of that ilk, but I might just try to write one of my own.

Talk about a piece of art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life.
Seeing the Classical Theatre of Harlem's 2006 production of Waiting for Godot. It was then that I realized that theatre could actually make things happen outside of the theater's walls, because that production actually made me go to St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana for 10 days to volunteer with post-Katrina clean-up efforts.

What motivates you to do what you do?
A feeling that I should be doing more.

If you were best friends with any historical figure,
who would it be and why?

St. Francis of Assisi. I bet he was a blast to hang with, even (or especially) after his partying days. No matter what you think of his association with the church, he was the ultimate environmentalist, peace-monger, and wise-man (after Jesus, I suppose), and on top of it all, the cat was just down.

If you were a character in your favorite fictional storyline, who would it be? how would your character be intertwined within the story line that already exists?
I've always heavily identified with Vladimir from Waiting for Godot. I even wrote a song about it.

Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
I don't know that I could pick any particular moment; that's just not how my memory works. For me, something will happen in the present, and I'll remember something really important from my past because of it. I often worry that I don't remember anything; but then a moment like this will come along, and a particular memory will rise. I think I'm the accumulation of a lot of experiences, but I'm not sure I could identify the major ones.

Talk about the best day ever.
Greasy diner breakfast somewhere in Clinton County before kicking out some jams with friends in Brooklyn, 'una de cebolla' from Pizza Celina in Havana for lunch, a wander through Balboa Park in San Diego with friends, a late afternoon rehearsal of T.O. techniques with both old hands and folks who've never tried it before, dinner with friends of pork, rice & beans that I've cooked, catch a new play before it's back to Cuba for a mojito or three in Havana Vieja with friends, then a stroll by the Seine with Nicole.

Who is your hero?

Create a require reading list for the world:
Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht
Everything in print by J. D. Salinger
Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Robby's Cat

For more pictures of Robby visit: