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Laist Interview: John Glore and Matthew McCray

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Los Angeles playwright John Glore is the author of The Company of Heaven and On The Jump, among other works. His most recent piece, Preludes and Fugues, is currently playing at the Son of Semele ensemble theatre in Silver Lake. (Laist reviewed it here.) Preludes and Fugues explores the pathological, bizarre and beautiful dreams of four frustrated musicians the night before a concert. Glore has had his plays produced nationally, including at South Coast Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He was the dramaturg for Center Theatre Group from 2000 to 2005 and before that was the literary manager at SCR for 15 years. He has recently become the Associate Artistic Director of SCR.

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Matthew McCray is the founder and Artistic Director of one of Los Angeles's most avant-garde theatres, Son of Semele Ensemble (SOSE). The company was founded in 2000 to produce McCray's original play Earthlings. Since its inception, SOSE has produced 15 plays in five years, been profiled in American Theatre Magazine, and received the Ovation Award for Best Musical Production (intimate venue) and Best Director of a Musical for their production of Animal Farm. Steven Leigh Morris (LA Weekly) has written that SOSE "jumps off of cliffs the way most people step off curbs." McCray has worked with SOSE as a writer, director, actor, and producer, and serves on the faculty of Chapman University.

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Age and Occupation:
John: Associate Artistic Director of South Coast Repertory, a position that lends dignity to my gray hair and wrinkles.
Matthew: 29 (almost the big 3-0!) --- Actor/Director/Teacher

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
John: I’ve lived in various homes around Los Feliz and Silver Lake for 21 years. I’ve been in my current Silver Lake house, around the corner from the Coffee Table, since 1993.
Matthew: I have lived in Los Angeles since 1998. 1st residence was Korea Town --- funky studio with high ceilings and a scary elevator. A few years later I moved to a townhouse in Silver Lake where I live today. Love Silver Lake.

Why do you choose to live in Los Angeles?
John: I first moved to the area (from Washington, D.C.) because my wife needed to be here for career reasons, which is also why we chose L.A. even though I was working in Orange County. We’ve stayed here, and stayed in Silver Lake, all these years, through several job changes, because we like the combination of urban energy and diversity and L.A.’s easy-going metabolism, the feeling of living among artists and educated, politically liberal people like ourselves, without compromising our daughter’s safety and sanity (any more than any place else in a city would). She was born in L.A. thirteen years ago and seems to be turning into the kind of hip, well-rounded, Green Day-fixated teenager we can be proud of.
Matthew: I just can't move away from my friends/family/etc. Love those guys... can't do without them. Aside from that... is the Silver Lake dog park a good enough reason?

What gave you the idea to start Son of Semele? How did the company come to exist?
Matthew: I wrote a play and wanted to see it produced..... I got a bunch of my friends together and we produced my play - and sometime in the middle of the production the question of "What's next?" started to pop up. "Uh.... I don't know.... Let's start reading stuff and see what we.... uh.... will do next." Basically, a few months later we produced our next play.... a wonderfully bizarre play by Richard Foreman called "Lava" and a 20-second play by Beckett called "Breath" (which required no actors... only trash and a sound cue!). I still count "Lava/Breath" as one of the most interesting
pieces of theater we've done. I think "Lava/Breath" started us in a really interesting direction and brought the members of the company together.