An Interview with Nathaniel Glein Scott
It is the mission of Massachusetts’ own Ragnarok Productions to highlight themes of rebirth with stories that exist on the line between the crumbling of one world and the flowering of the next…
Hello Nathaniel, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Nathaniel: I was born in Seattle in the US. I was raised in Portugal, Romania, and have lived in a variety of locations around the United States.
When did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Nathaniel: I have always had a passion for storytelling. I wrote/directed/produced my first stage play (called “Benedictus”) as a 14 year old in Romania.
What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Nathaniel: The biggest opportunity theatre provides is the audience being present. It makes certain kinds of storytelling possible that do not work anywhere nearly as well in film or as printed words. My ideal theatrical performance is one that seeks to consider the presence of the humans on the stage and humans in the audience and connecting the two of those in effective ways. Besides that, I adore theatre that is bold and has a reason of being other than just being. I would rather go to any play that tried three dozen things with varying degrees of success than one that took no risks or brought no originality.
Can you tell us about Ragnarok Productions?
Nathaniel: Our company’s name was taken from the Ragnarok myth, the story of the climactic final battle in Norse legends. The ultimate conclusion of this narrative is that the seeds of the world to come are planted in the world that came before. It is the mission of Ragnarok Productions to highlight themes of rebirth with stories that exist on the line between the crumbling of one world and the flowering of the next. It is our goal to bolster the courage to keep looking ahead and foster hope in renewal.
You are bringing two shows to Edinburgh this August, can you tell us about them?
Nathaniel: The artistic collaboration which brought us to this stage (pun intended), was made up at the outset of three different companies working under the umbrella of Ragnarok. The two shows are incredibly different tonally, but definitely operate on a shared journey theme.
What is your role?
Nathaniel: On the broader scale, I am the founder and managing director of Ragnarok Productions. With this particular set of shows, I was a producer for both, and was the writer on “The Odyssey of Homer”
Could you tell us more about your adaption – which text did you use & how did you use it?
Nathaniel: I worked with the iambic pentameter translation done by Chapman. The goal of that choice was to work in metered storytelling in deference to the story song traditions of oral histories, but keeping it in the meter with which many actors were already familiar. The process involved reading the swaths of the Odyssey, reading commentaries and articles and a variety of translations until I could condense twenty pages of content into a page or less of text. The edit of the play that will be taking the stage in Edinburgh is a slightly pared down version.
The cast is predominantly female, what is the back story?
Nathaniel: It became a story of learned patterns of the glorification of violence in paternalistic cultures and is told by a predominantly female cast. As such, the notion of having Telemachus played by a male where the rest of the world around him was portrayed by female actors.
How did you nurture the adaption into life?
Nathaniel: Knowing that the script was densely written, it was always the intent in direction to keep the piece moving and vital to which end, its visual roots are drawn from physical theatre traditions.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the Odyssey to somebody in the street….?
Nathaniel: The play is a new work AND a classic. It’s ancient AND has a critical and timely thematic exploration. It’s relentless in its pacing and will draw you in and get you closer to home with images to remember, poetry and songs to echo in your head, and a group of talented actors and production team to applaud.
Greenside @ Nicholson Square
Aug 6-10 (09.00)