Burgess Clark Answers the Proust Questionnaire

Burgess Clark

Burgess Clark

Burgess Clark (playwright of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Boston Children’s Theatre adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas In Wales) assumed leadership of Boston’s oldest theatre company, Boston Children’s Theatre as Executive Artistic Director, in 2008. In his first season, BCT has enjoyed immense popularity and profile among teachers, students and the community, having renewed it’s standing as Boston’s premier theatre for young people.

A 30-year theatre professional, Burgess was nominated in 1991 and again in 2007 as a “Distinguished Teacher in the Arts” by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts for encouraging and supporting students with exceptional artistic achievement. Burgess has taught for the University of Hawaii and acted as Director of Theatre for The Mid-Pacific Institute. He also served as Director of Education for the Honolulu Theatre for Youth and was the Director of Theatre at the Perry-Mansfield School of the Arts in Steamboat Springs, Colorado—the oldest arts school in the nation. Prior to assuming leadership of the Boston Children’s Theatre, Burgess was the Director of Education of the acclaimed Academy of Music Theatre at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA. From 1988-94, Clark was the National Instructor for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/Office of Very Special Arts, working with special populations and those who educate them. Five of his students have won the National Young Playwrights’ Award.

What is your definition of misery?
Living in Utah.

What is your greatest fear?
Living in Utah.

What was your first “real” job working in theatre?
At the time, I still wanted to be an actor but landing the Director of Education for Honolulu Theatre for Youth was the job where I learned the most about myself and my ultimate ‘place’ in the theatre.

Are you a good at waiting tables?
Happily, I’ve never had to. I’m better at gathering people around them.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Thomas Paine. (I feel perpetually misinterpreted, too.)

Who are your favorite heroes of theatre?
Margo Jones. Elia Kazan. Walter Kerr. My agent.

Who are your favorite heroes in real life?
The youth of today. (They’re less fearful than we were. Have you noticed?)

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What do you consider the most underrated virtue?

Your favorite painter?
Edward Hopper.

Your favorite musician?

Your favorite playwright?
I have favorite plays rather than playwrights, but if pressed I would have to say writers in the vein of Tennessee Williams, Caryl Churchill, Eric Overmeyer. I like plays that truly use the medium of theatre. I like theatricality.

When and where were you happiest?
At my farm in Vermont. Nobody there ever asks me to explain.

What do you most value in colleagues?
Teamwork. After all, the play’s the thing…

Is there a class in which you wish you had paid more attention?

If you didn’t work in theatre, what would you do?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Surviving Ohio. Surviving cancer. Surviving, period.

What you’d like to be the world’s best at?

What book would you read more than once?
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? Why?
Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s hot!

What sports teams do you follow?
The Boston Red Sox. That’s baseball, right…?

Where would you like to spend a vacation?
Greece, Hawaii….any place warm.

What car would you like to be seen driving around in?
1952 Forest Green MG. Ford Model A Coupe. What’s most likely: A pick-up truck.

What book is currently on your nightstand?
Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff.

If you could see a great production of a classic play, what would it be?
The Cavern by Jean Anouilh.

If you could travel back in time to visit or live in any time in history, when would it be?
The Age of Reason.

What actor will see in any project they do?
Laura Linney. Just when you think you’ve got her pegged, she surprises.

Thank you to Burgess Clark (tag archive). Photo courtesy of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (website | profile | tag archive). Your source for news and information about Boston Theatre. Follow us on twitter @exploretheatre and become a fan on Facebook.

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