Brater: Your acting, directing, and teaching career has been an interesting melange of classic and contemporary works for the stage. “Melange” — pretty impressive, huh?
Dugan: I love the Glass Melangerie. Brater: So first question: why have you given so much of your professional life to Shakespeare? Dugan: I had the incredible good fortune to grow up in Upstate NY near Saratoga and in 2001 I auditioned for Saratoga Shakespeare Company, the area's longest running professional Shakespeare theater. I got cast as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream back and didn't really know what I was doing. But I happened to work with these amazing and experienced ensemble of professional actors who put on a master class daily. I immediately became enthralled with how they handled the language, lifted the story and collaborated together. I witnessed craft and a real company feel. I wanted in. And thankfully SSC was like a family, so I kept coming back summer after summer, eventually joined the Board, became Associate Artistic Director and helped to develop the Education program. All the while doing these incredible plays and roles (Macbeth, Orlando, Ford, Benedick) in beautiful Congress Park. Families would come back year after year and we would catch up after the shows, because the audience is such a part of the experience there. My own kids grew up handing out programs, hanging out at rehearsals, and seeing Shakespeare which was a gift. In 2017 I got to do A Midsummer Night's Dream again-this time as Bottom-and my daughter-who was 10 at the time-was in it. That was the best. I was given the opportunity to grow and develop both as a Shakespearean actor and a theater artist helping to run a company, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Brater: But you’re not strictly a Shakespearean or classicist. In addition to directing the modern classic, “Angels in America (Part One)” - and playing John Proctor in “The Crucible”, you’ve acted in or directed some highly experimental and cutting edge new plays. You like games, right Tim? We’ll name one of these plays, then you give us five words that come to mind about the play and/or your involvement. (You can have six in a pinch.). OK, let’s start with an acting gig. “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” Dugan: I do! Okay....magical realism, intensity, first buzz cut Brater: “Long Live the Little Knife” (Actor) Dugan: multiple accents (Geordie!), con artists, Superman underwear Brater: “Stupid F#@!ing Bird”. (Director) Dugan: “here we are,” gutsy, meta, Chekhov! Brater: ”We Are Proud to Present…” (Director) Dugan: unflinching truth, transformational, challenging, courageous ensemble Brater: “Antigonick” (Director) Dugan: generative process, amazing team, puppetry, Carson! Brater: “Straight White Men” (Actor)
Dugan: brothers, Philly theater, joy, Santa suit Brater: That’s quite a lineup of new works. If we’re unfamiliar with them and could only see a great production of one of them, we should get tickets to…
Dugan: That’s a really tough question to answer. Each one of those had something wonderfully unique to experience…but right now I’ll go with Long Live The Little Knife. The story (absurdist take on the double-cross), the space we were in (kind of a downtown, avant-garde/artist studio vibe) playing multiple characters who directly address the audience and having David Leddy, the playwright, come over from Scotland for rehearsals and opening was amazing. Felt all the more special being my first featured role in Philadelphia. And I love Inis Nua Theater-they produce contemporary and provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. Brater: This summer you’ve just starred in “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Saratoga Shakespeare Company (SSC), and before you balk at our using the word “starred,” the SSC’s own press releases said the play was “starring Saratoga Shakespeare Favorite, Tim Dugan, as Benedick.” So there. What projects — acting or directing — are coming up next?
Dugan: As I mentioned above, if you stick around long enough-this was 12th season at SSC-they have to come up with some kind of description. By chance I will be directing Much Ado About Nothing in the spring where I teach at Bates. Seems like it’s the year of that play right now which makes a lot of sense to me. We all need to laugh and reconnect with each other, and I can think of no better Shakespeare option than that. Brater: We can read your bio on the Brater website to get the major overview of your work, but what is NOT in your bio that you’d like to share? Dugan: I am an incredibly proud father of three amazing kids. I also coach a pretty mean third base for my son‘s Connie Mack baseball team. Brater: OK, here are the Brater interview final questions asked of all interviewees: You’ve been granted the ability to invite four or five people — living or dead — to join you for a fabulous dinner. No relatives allowed. Who would you invite? Dugan: Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Bill Murray, Bono Brater: Hmmn. Three playwrights. Of the five invitees, who is most likely to say or do something they’ll regret. Dugan: Depends on how much drinking is involved. Brater: Finally, if you were to start a new a personal library, what are the first three books you would purchase? Dugan: The Alchemist Hat Box, The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim And, yes, The Complete Works of Shakespeare
Brater:Thank you, Mr. Dugan. Dugan: Thank you!