A Day with Yussef
We brought Yussef El Guindi down from Seattle in August to spend a day talking about The Talented Ones. We needed to discuss how to proceed, to hear from Yussef what he needs in order to develop the script, to work out a schedule, and to generally Nail Things Down. We could have Skyped this meeting or traded a lot of emails, but – as useful and efficient as technology can be – nothing beats breaking bread together, or sitting with each other in the theatre, breathing in the quiet, empty space, and letting the conversation meander.
Yussef and I spent some time chatting about his process and intentions, which was very helpful to me. I know his other plays, of course, but to hear how The Talented Ones is similar or dissimilar to the other plays in his mind, how his intentions and challenges are distinctly different this time, this is important for me to understand so I can support him as well as possible.
The three of us – Dámaso, Yussef and me – spent some time in Dámaso’s office talking about the script. Dámaso and I asked tons of questions: What’s the intention behind this moment? Is this character like this, or like that? What are you thinking here? Yussef answered, wondered, countered and mused about our questions, and gradually over the hours, we found our path forward. We’ll have a workshop in late February for Yussef to hear the play read and worked on with actors and director, so he can continue to shape and focus the writing.
It was great to have Yussef here with us for the day – we’re excited to have this project launched!