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The Man Behind the Curtain

Christopher Ashley of the La Jolla Playhouse


Christopher Ashley

On sports

I am in the middle of becoming a Padres fan. I’ve been a longtime Yankees fan. I lived in New York for 25 years before I came out here. It’s really hard to make yourself shift your allegiance. I’m 90 percent there. 

On finding new voices

New plays are a lot of why I do what I do. What are artists writing about right now? What is their vision of the world as it exists right at this moment? How is the world changing? The artists I love make me see the world in a new way.

On what he fears

A yawn. The worst sin in making theater is to bore people.

On the SD food scene

That was one of my anxieties about coming out to San Diego. Will the foodie part of me shrivel and die? But the food here is fantastic. I’m really impressed by how many wonderful restaurants there are. 

On music

I love Ella Fitzgerald, and I love all different kinds of jazz. I’m perfectly happy with a Simon and Garfunkel tune. It’s my parents’ generation of music.

On caffeine

I try to avoid Starbucks, because I was a little bit of an addict. I think I was at eight or 10 cups a day. But now I’m down to three.

On SD’s nightlife 

La Jolla is not really a late-night town. I’m ready to go to sleep at about 3 a.m., and most of San Diego is ready to go to sleep a lot earlier than that. 

On the future of live theater

Site-specific work that’s out in the world. It’s what a flash mob is, a little bit, something completely impromptu and suited to a specific moment and a specific place. This kind of work is huge in Europe and the rest of the world. And I think a big new wave of it is about to hit in America. 

On David Mamet 

I was in a jazz band as a kid, and that’s actually one of the fun things about directing Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s like jazz, because different actors and their voices interlock. If one skips a beat, the whole thing falls apart.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

On Stage Now:Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

The Playhouse is keeping the details of this show under lock and key. But expect a science fiction-esque storyline with some super innovative technological spectacles, as directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar) and featuring music by the Flaming Lips. November 6–December 16. lajollaplayhouse.org 

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