Dan Hodge and Krista Apple-Hodge have a whole lot of relationships to navigate. They are both busy working actors, who have appeared together onstage in the past. They are both deeply involved in the daily operations of running the Philadelphia Artists' Collective. Dan is currently directing the spring production of "Mary Stuart," featuring Krista as Queen Elizabeth I. And, of course, they just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. Associate Artist Katherine Fritz sat down with the couple, and asked them to dish on what it's like working together so closely, onstage and off.
Katherine Fritz: So, you guys were a couple for quite some time before appearing onstage together, correct?
Dan Hodge: Yeah, we had been a couple basically since I moved to the city. I met her and we hooked up right away. I think we were together for about three years before working together creatively.
Krista Apple-Hodge: I think Our Class at the Wilma was the first time we were onstage together.
Dan: I think we said all of five lines to each other.
Fritz: That was that incredibly heartbreaking play about the Holocaust, correct?
Dan: Oh, yeah. Things started off incredibly cheerful. (Laughs)
Fritz: So - what is it like for you to play a couple onstage when you are a couple in real life?
Krista: You know, it's funny. When we started rehearsals for Creditors, which was the first time we'd really played a couple together, I went into it feeling a little hesitant and a little worried about, 'Ohhh, we're going to be arguing onstage all day, I hope we don't start arguing offstage at night.' But it was actually strangely so much fun being able to tear into each other onstage, because we love each other and we trust each other so much. I think it gave us permission to just be kind of devastatingly awful to each other. There really was no need to be polite - we knew we loved each other and that wasn't going to change.
Dan: You know exactly where the buttons are and how to push 'em. And at the same time, you know how and when to keep things safe. It was a lot of fun - and a welcome change after Our Class!
Fritz: So this is the first time Dan is directing Krista! Can you talk about what that relationship is like? There's a lot to navigate -- Actor-Director, Husband-Wife, and "Ok, we run a company together."
Dan: I suppose you could say it's the first time it's legitimately my job to tell Krista what to do (Laughs). A lot of what's happening is that we founded a company with people that we all already respect, and there's already a shared artistic notion. I know she's good. I know this is a great role for Krista. It's also that I trust her artistically and I hope she trusts me artistically. There are things that we probably won't always see eye-to-eye about, but at the end of the day we're just trying to make a piece of work happen together.
Krista: Having spent time with Dan over the last 2-3 years as he has emerged in town as a director and really hearing him talk about his rehearsal process, his values, his priorities -- it's actually made it so much easier to come into this room knowing what it is that this director is going to be looking for. Knowing how he works, knowing what he really wants and needs, what he values from his actors. Knowing how he likes to tell stories. One of Dan's many skills and strengths is his ability to bring a story to life in a deeply visceral way. There's a real -- I don't want to say aggressiveness, but there's a real strength and momentum to Dan's directing style. It's such an asset when you're working on these classical plays where people talk and talk and talk and talk! So knowing who I was going to work for has made it easier for me to sit with my script and figure out, 'Okay, what are the most useful proposals I can bring into the room?'
Fritz: So has the "I'm sleeping with the director" joke become old for you yet?
Dan: Well, if we were sleeping together..... (Laughs) Ok, no, it really is something you do have to navigate. Especially asking yourself the question... how do you function in a world where you're trying not to bring the work with you everywhere you go?
Dan: We have to be good about that. We can't go home and talk about what's happened in rehearsal without doing other people the disservice of then saying "Here are the decisions that we've made for you, in our kitchen, at one in the morning."
Krista: Because, you know, I AM sleeping with the director! And I don't want to create a culture in the rehearsal room where that facet of our relationship could upend the creative work that needs to happen collectively with the fifteen other people working on this project.
Dan: Absolutely. If I show favoritism to any one person, ultimately it doesn't engender a good work environment in the room. So I need to put aside my feelings for Nathan Foley ....
Krista: How dare you. I'm the queen.
Dan: But I'm the director.
Krista: But I'm the queen.
Dan: You are -- A queen.
Fritz: Guys. I can't print any of this.
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