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Entries in Poetry (3)

Tuesday
Jun062017

Call Answered: Conference Call: Michael Raver & Nicholas Carriere: Death Comes for the War Poets at Sheen Center

Nicholas Carriere & Michael Raver, Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyWe live in some crazy times. Every day that moron stays in office is another battle we have to fight for our freedom from him because we never know what that lunatic is going to do. Ever since this election, I am just grateful to wake-up everyday still alive.

When I found out about Death Comes For The War Poets, a new play by Joseph Pearce, I thought this would be a great show to highlight because it takes place on the centenary of the United States’ entry into World War One and grapples with the horror of trench warfare as experienced by the two greatest war poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

I was so excited to get to speak with the plays' two lead actors, Michael Raver and Nicholas Carriere, who play "Wilfred Owen" and "Siegfried Sassoon" respectively. It was interesting to compare the events of the past with what's happening today.

Presented by Blackfriars Repertory Theatre and The Storm Theatre Company, Death Comes For The War Poets will make it's world premiere at The Sheen Center in NYC (18 Bleecker Street) from June 9-24. Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit http://michaelraver.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter!

For more on Nicholas visit http://nicholascarriere.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. This June you are starring in the world premiere of Blackfriars Repertory Theatre and The Storm Theatre Company's production of Death Comes for the War Poets by Joseph Pearce. What attracted you to this show?

Michael Raver: I didn’t actually know anything about Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon when I heard about this play. The poetry that both of these men wrote, the emotional capacity of their work and what they accomplished with it is staggering. Ultimately because plays are about relationships between people, that's the breakfast, lunch and dinner for actors, right? Sassoon and Owen had a fascinating relationship, one that was very obviously filled with a lot of love. Against the backdrop of how they met and the abiding feelings they expressed to each other suggest delicious possibilities.

Nicholas Carriere: Pure curiosity, and a dose of masochism. I’m from New England, and was raised Catholic, so if it seems difficult, I’ll probably be drawn to it.

2. What do you relate to most about your characters "Siegfried Sassoon" & "Wilfred Owen"? What is one characteristic of theirs are you glad you don't possess?

Michael Raver: I love Owen’s emotional bravery. One of his most profound gifts to the poetic landscape, particularly as it pertained to war, was a willingness to be vulnerable and blunt. There was no sarcasm or triviality in his ethos. As an actor and as a writer, my ultimate desire is to get to the bottom of complicated things. Distilling, while I wrestle with things that make no sense to me. Owen spent his short career fighting to understand violence and I can completely relate to that. I’m relieved that the jingoistic relationship with going to war isn’t on the menu for me. England, at the time of the first World War, had a propensity for nurturing young men to believe that their destinies were all on the battlefield. The might is right. I have respect for the military but I’m endlessly thankful that I’m not among them.

Nicholas Carriere: I love words, much like he (obviously) did, though the way we use them is very different. Sassoon was a fascinating man, whose life was beautiful, and tragic. The events of our respective lives couldn’t be more different; it feels unfair of me to judge any of his choices, or perceived character traits. That said, I could only wish to write as beautifully as he did.

Michael Raver, Nicholas Carriere, Sarah Naughton, Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey3. In preparing for the show, what kind of research did you do on your characters?

Michael Raver: Reading a lot. I’ve read and re-read his poetry. I also was in touch with the Wilfred Owen Association and they’ve been very helpful giving me some details about him that I might not have easily found in books. Because he was suffering from shell shock at the time we’re covering in the piece, I also watched some really heartbreaking documentaries about the lasting effects of war on the human body.

Nicholas Carriere: I read the first of Sassoon’s autobiographies, and reviewed my WWI history, but because there’s very little interpersonal dialogue in the play, most of the work lay in unpacking the language of his poems, because his poems serve as the narrative engine. I can’t rely on relationships, or sets, or a general audience’s working knowledge of this man. I have to find a way to create the world of this man’s life - both external and internal - with only his poetry.

4. Since you play poets and the show is about war, if you were to write a very short poem about war, how would your poem go?

Michael Raver: 

Roses are red, violets are blue
War is complete bullshit
So stay home won’t you?

Nicholas Carriere: If anyone wants to see me doing poetry, they should come see the show starting June 9th!

Michael Raver5. The show is titled Death Comes for the War Poets. If death came for you now, what would you be most grateful for that you've accomplished and what would be one or two things you were like, "Damn, I didn't get to do that yet"?

Michael Raver: I’m grateful that, in the last year particularly, I’ve stayed in the present moment more often than not. I’ve gotten to be present for some really exceptional moments in other people’s lives. Births, weddings, seminal creative moments and also a few deaths. As far as things that I haven’t done yet, I guess that since we live in a work-addicted culture, I would love to get to a point where I can soften out of that a little. In terms of my career, I’m proud of what I’ve done so far. I’m in the process of writing a book right now and I’m looking forward to seeing that through.

Nicholas Carriere: Oh, see, although I have a very bounteous life, with much to be grateful for, I try not to dwell on any of it, and hope to be present enough to not live (or die) with regrets.

6. The show deals with the horror of trench warfare, so what is the most horrific thing to happen to each of you in your life? How did you find the strength to continue after said event?

Michael Raver: My father passed away when I was eighteen and that was pretty traumatizing. Our relationship and the circumstances of it were very complicated and the situation left me with a lot of frayed edges and unresolved issues. For lack of a better way of saying it, losing a parent can feel like emotional war. Someone recently told me this really great idea that your parents give birth to you twice. Once when you’re born and then again when they die. As an adult man now, I’ve made a concerted effort to get the most out of the time I have while I have it. If something bothers me, I say something. If I have the impulse to change something about my life, I really try not to hesitate. While I appreciate that there’s a time and a place for everything, subjugating my feelings and thoughts feels like death.

Nicholas Carriere: There is poetry in the play, which deals with trench warfare, and it’s a testament to Sassoon and Owen as artists that they’re able to render such vivid, haunting accounts of a very dark time in modern history. But it’s the darkness of that time, which enables Sassoon to find a path to peace. So few of us can ever know the horror of that kind of war; mostly anything I could ever, or may ever endure seems manageable.

Nicholas Carriere7. Not only is this story told through the eyes of Siefgried & Wilfred, it's also told through the "Spirit of Death." I don't want to make every question a downer, so let's have some fun with this question. If you could come up with a cheer for the "Spirit of Death," how would you cheer go?

Michael Raver: This isn’t really a chant, but KT Tunstall has a gorgeous song about death called ‘Carried’ that would be my go-to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLNp1WROFR0

Nicholas Carriere: Sarah Naughton, who plays "Death" in the show, will be charming, and cheering audiences nightly starting 6/9. I’ll defer to her expertise.

8. We are currently living in some very trying times, especially with what's his name leading our country. What are some things you are still hopeful for in this day and age?

Michael Raver: I love those moments when communication between people gets bolstered, strengthened. I love directness. I love when I get an email or a text or a call from someone I haven’t seen in a while or even its somebody that I see on a regular basis, to get a "just saying hi" message. Little morsels of love like that can work miracles on a downtrodden mood. Celebrating what unites us rather than what breaks us up. I’m hopeful that in the coming years, people will dig deep to embrace their own vulnerability as a strength rather than labeling it a weakness.

Nicholas Carriere: My father has an infuriating way of assuring me that humanity will find its way towards whatever is best. Frustratingly, as I grow older, I am starting to see his point. I have faith.

Nicholas Carriere and Michael Raver, Photo Credit: Lloyd Mulvey9. How do you feel we can bring peace to this world we live in?

Michael Raver: Love is a huge necessity, absolutely, but I think perhaps a refined definition of what love is. To me, love has always been an action. It’s a verb. It’s so easy to toss that word off carelessly. I so want our collective consciousness to rise to the point where we can walk our own talk. If you love someone, show them if you want to tell them. If something bothers you, do something. Regarding the political circus going on at the moment, my encouragement to anyone upset by it would be to pick up a phone, call a congress person, go to a protest. Donate money. Do rather than simply complain.

Nicholas Carriere: Our collective wellspring of empathy and compassion, I think, has no bottom; we need only make better (and more frequent) use of it.

10. If you could write death a letter, what would you say to it?

Michael Raver: 

Dear sir and/or madam: 

I have a lot of things I want to do. Do me a solid and let me do them. I want to be very thoroughly used up by the time you show up looking for me.

Thanks!

xo

Nicholas Carriere: "Are you ok? You look like… Well. You know."

Michael RaverMore on Michael:

Off-Broadway: The Persians (National Actors Theatre); Vieux Carré (The Pearl); Julius Caesar, Romeo & Juliet (Aquila Theatre). Select regional: Bay Street Theater, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Playhouse on Park, Ivoryton Playhouse, Sierra Rep. Select film/TV: How We Built the Bomb, Dark Places, Gone Away, Turn: Washington’s Spies. As a playwright: Fire on Babylon (Wild Project, Great River Shakespeare Festival, The O’Neill semifinalist), RiptideQuiet Electricity (The O’Neill semifinalist), Evening (Red Bull Theater finalist) and adaptations of The Picture of Dorian Gray (Sonnet Rep, Orlando Shakespeare Theater 
PlayFest finalist) and The Seagull (The Pearl). Contributes pieces to Classical TVNYC Monthly, Hamptons Monthly, The Huffington Post, Playbill.com, Dance Magazine and CoolHunting.com.

Nicholas CarriereMore on Nicholas:

Some New York and regional credits include Sex with Strangers (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), My Report to the World (NY Museum of Jewish Heritage and Shakespeare Theater, DC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Guthrie Theater), A Song at Twilight (Hartford Stage and Westport Country Playhouse), Zorro (American premiere at Alliance Theatre), Abigail/1702 (world premiere at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Coriolanus (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), The Lion King (national tour/Vegas). Training: MFA, Yale School of Drama and Muhlenberg College. Thanks to his father for his support and always letting him make a mess in his kitchen.

Saturday
Nov052016

Call Answered: Masiela Lusha: Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, George Lopez Show, The Living Air

Masiela Lusha, Photo credit: Fadil BerishaI love the Sharknado TV movies. Yes, it's because Ian Ziering starred in them and that's what sucked me in. I also love people who can express themselves through writing. I've been a writer my whole life and am overjoyed with the fact I get to do it everyday with "Call Me Adam." Both these passions lead us to Masiela Lusha, actress, writer, and wife. When Masiela was brought to my attention, I fell in love with her story...leaving her home in Albania as a refugee at the age of four and making her dreams come true as an actress, including her breakout role as "Carmen Consuela Lopez" on ABC's George Lopez show.

Most recently, Masiela was seeing as "Gemini" in Sharknado: The 4th Awakens and her latest book of poems is set to be released on November 19 entitled The Living Air.

For more on Masiela follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Masiela Lusha, Photo credit: Fadil Berisha1. Who or what inspired you to become an actress/writer? While some mothers sing lullabies to their children, my mother read me her poetry. As a result, I consider poetry as the most authentic and intimate way of connecting with another person. It is a form of art that does not require rules to breathe; it simply requires a desire to connect on one’s own terms and understanding and can be reevaluated with each new experience. Because one poem can be read in an infinite number of ways, and be translated through many, even contradictory, emotions depending on the reader’s vicissitudes of experiences, I consider poetry to have absolutely no boundaries, and to be the bedrock of honesty.

2. You were born in Albania, but left as a refugee when you were just four years old. What do you remember about that time? My earliest memories as a refugee are on a bus, being driven to Hungary with the other refugee families. We were lead to believe that our bus was threatened with a bomb while exiting Albania. I remember the faces, American volunteers from the Red Cross. Upon hearing of the threat, I later learned that they had put their lives on the line to sit by the window, striving to ensure a safe escape out of the turmoil that engulfed our beautiful country at the time. This selflessness, this sense of humanity aimed at us has been the catalysis behind my humanitarian efforts throughout my life. I never feel I am doing enough to ensure safety and comfort for families in our society, there is always more that I can do. After all, I owe my life to complete strangers who simply disappeared after their assistance, like angels.

Masiela Lusha as "Carmen Consuela Lopez" on ABC's "George Lopez"3. You are known for starring as "Carmen Consuela Lopez" on ABC's George Lopez show which aired from 2002-2007. What was it like to be on a hit show? Where were your top three favorite moments on that show? How did you adjust to the recognition that came with being on such a popular show? I spent my most formative years on the George Lopez show, learning from an early age how to navigate a series, while also learning how to navigate simply being a teenager. My favorite moment consistently every week was hearing the audience find their seats and cheer near the stage. From behind the curtain, their energy was electric, and the fuel behind my enthusiasm to dive into our scenes. My other favorite moment was turning 18 on the show, with the audience there to celebrate with us. George and his family carried out a puppy during the birthday song. It was a birthday I will never forget, and to this day, my absolute favorite. My other favorite moment was filming the very honest and raw scenes as "Carmen." "Carmen" endured a lot during her growth on the show, and performing the real emotions of a teenage girl, questioning her identity, her worth, was the most rewarding experience for me as an actress. To this day, I am approached about "Carmen" being more than a sitcom character; for many girls, including myself, she was a beacon of sincerity, shining truth about American life during those thoughtful storylines. On a number of occasions, young fans would hug me, crying, revealing that they never felt understood in their life but watching "Carmen" go through the same experience helped them through a difficult time, and made them feel included in something.

Masiela Lusha and Ian Ziering in "Sharknado: The 4th Awakens"4. You also starred in Sharknado 4 alongside Ian Ziering. What was it like to be the newcomer in a franchise that already had three previous movies? What was the best part about being in this film and what were some of the more challenging moments? As someone who performed her own stunts, how do you decide which ones you are going to do? Do you ever worry it will be too much? I was apprehensive about stepping into an already defined family unit. Especially since my character, "Gemini," wasn’t fully fleshed out during the first few days of filming. She was written as the babysitter, then re-written as the family friend, then eventually a "Shepard" family member. This was the journey Anthony Ferrante, the director, and I took together, defining this girl and her purpose within the Sharknado family. I have to say, however, there was not one day that I did not feel completely welcome on set, as if I've worked with the cast many films prior. It was an incredible experience to immediately belong and this feeling made filming that much more rewarding.

My favorite stunt has to be diving off 855 feet from the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas. It felt like a little victory because leading up to the stunt, from the first week of filming, I was assured that I could not do this, that I would not, that I would be far too afraid. I am one of those oddballs that immediately commits to something when others determine it impossible. Perhaps the producers sensed this, and used it to my advantage, or perhaps they sincerely thought I could not jump off the hotel. Either way, 4am, there was I was peering down the Vegas skyline, strapped in with wires, realizing how much I love my job. Anthony requested that I not scream as I dive down, and we ended up filming it twice. Not that scary, and I have yet to commit to a stunt that truly worries me. Knock Knock.

5. In addition to acting, you are also an author of your poetry. What do you get from being a writer that you don't get from being an actress? I feel fortunate to have multiple avenues of expression. I feel acting and writing complement each other quite seamlessly. As an actress, it is my duty to close read the script, find the hidden meaning behind each line of dialogue, find the symbolism in each object, piece of clothing worn, and plot twist that my character endures. Poetry is close reading as well. One must read each line deliberately and with intention. No word is by accident or loose enough to strike out from the poem. I consider acting just as sacred. Each line must be lived with intention, with purpose, and with an overarching mission that stitches the whole script together. Each object carried by the character has its own wealth of wisdom, backstory, and meaning. When I need to cleanse a character out of my system after we wrap, I often write a poem, framing my feelings into an experience. It’s my way of letting it go. When I build a character, I often write her diary as a poem. It simply opens up her world more easily for me.

6. Your latest book of poetry, The Living Air is about to be released on November 19. What is like to put your poetry out there? Do you ever feel exposed and worried as to how people might react? What is it like to hear from your fans? I always feel vulnerable talking about my poems. They are little diary entries for me, and I am both mortified and relieved if a reader can tap into the inner mechanics of the poem and discover its truth as I personally intended. That’s always terrifying. Though, I would like to think that each poem carries a unique fingerprint for each reader who can interpret its words and rhythm in an authentic way that fits perfectly into his or her own life. In this way, I value poems as a medium for healing and expanding on some inner understanding. Hearing my fans write about my poems, and how they interpret the message, and how it made them feel is an experience I cannot articulate in words. It feels like fulfillment wrapped up in understanding and sheer appreciation. That’s the only way I can describe it. Their healing is the reason why I continue to write. I believe art serves a purpose that transcends the moment. It should exist as energy for healing and growth, defining our time and our philosophy as a society for decades to come. Art is the true ambassador of time.

Masiela Lusha and her husband Ramzi, Photo credit: Fadil Berisha7. You also recently got married. How did you and your husband meet? When did you know he was the one? What's it like being a wife and having to balance family and work? How do you do it all? I knew from the day I met him we would marry, though I waited for him to admit this, and propose :) Through trial and error, I’ve learned that the best balance for family and a career is routine, and carving out an intractable schedule for family time. For me, this means always enjoying dinner and breakfast together. Ramzi traveling for a day to watch me film also fulfills a purpose. It allows us to be on the same wavelength and experience, even just for a moment.

No one offers a handbook on how to be a good wife. We’ve learned that any mundane or truly difficult conversation can and should be approached with a purpose to heal and grow together. No topic is off limits for us, and I find this to be our greatest strength. Our connection as a couple is living the same reality together, with an innate understanding of each other’s inner process. We both try to fully immerse ourselves in each other's lives, by asking specific questions, and not settling for vague responses.

Masiela Lusha, Photo credit: Fadil Berisha8. As if acting and writing aren't enough, you are also quite the chef! When did you fall in love with cooking? What are some of your favorite dishes? If you had to cook a dish for a successful life, what ingredients would you put in that dish? Oddly, before Ramzi and I married, I was suspicious of boiling water. I was convinced that to boil water, one must add salt, perhaps, anything but just water. Then I took it upon myself to cook one new dish a day for a year, until I could confidently prepare a meal without a recipe book or measuring cups. Another desire of mine was to cook international meals, because Ramzi and I both come from internationally diverse cultures. We’re also health oriented so I rarely prepare dishes with carbs. When I prepare my favorite All-American burger, it’s sandwiched between sweet potato buns. Stir-fry is usually prepared with grated cauliflower, which tastes just as delicious as rice! And when I’m baking pizza, its usually with cauliflower dough. My favorite recipe has to be the simplest with only 2.5 ingredients. It’s Macaroons. One standard bag of sweetened coconut flakes, one can of condensed milk, and a dash of vanilla. Mix and roll each serving into an 2'' ball and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. By far, a universal favorite. Often, my friends devour the pan of macaroons before they’re cool enough to place on a platter and eat.

My recipe for life would be 2 cups of passion, and a dash of courage, baked with intention, and served with love :)

9. What is something about Masiela that you haven't revealed to your fans that you would like to share with them? I read predominantly nonfiction and rarely read novels unless they are based on true stories. I often read two to three books at a time.

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? That’s a really good approach and question! I believe each of us carries positive intentions, even in the most toxic disagreements. I do not believe for one moment that anyone actively chooses to be an antagonist in life. I attempt to expand my understanding and appreciation for other people’s struggles each and every day. Communicating with various personalities, it can be far too easy to close off into a preset expectation of what their inner workings and intentions are, and as a result it can be far too easy to settle as the victim. I make an active choice to breathe during confrontations and imagine what their struggles are to lead them to this conversation. What could the underlying misunderstanding be to lead to such a big disagreement by two people who do not consider themselves to be such negative energy? My greatest growth comes from never accepting the victim role. Never. We all have the power to contribute to a positive or negative experience. While we cannot predict or change a person’s behavior, we have the bigger power of reacting, redefining, and reorienting the result.

Masiela LushaMore on Masiela:

Masiela Lusha is an American actress, author, producer, and humanitarian. She is best known from her first major role as "Carmen Consuela" Lopez on the ABC’s globally syndicated sitcom George Lopez; a role which earned her two consecutive Young Artist Awards for Leading Young Actress in a Comedy or Drama. She immigrated to America with her mother at a young age. English is Masiela's fourth language and at the tender age of twelve, Masiela began a modeling career in Michigan. After a few months of professional modeling and acting, a Hollywood agent discovered her from an open call. From there, she and her family moved to Los Angeles. Upon moving to LA, she did print work with Ben Affleck, was featured in a multi-national back-to-school JCPenny commercial, and starred in Alanis Morissette's music video, "Hands Clean."

Masiela’s transition into film include starring roles in Sony Picture's Blood: The Last Vampire and SyFy's television movie Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Other projects include Anger Management (2014), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2006), Clifford Puppy Days (2003) Lizzie McGuire (2001).

In 2010, Masiela was appointed Ambassador of Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale. The cause helps vulnerable children in Lesotho, Africa through various grassroots efforts. Her humanitarian passions involve women’s rights and children’s rights. Masiela was also appointed as an Goodwill Ambassador for World Assembly Of Youth.

As an author, Masiela has written four books of poetry, Inner Thoughts, Drinking the Moon, Amore Celeste, The Call, a novel The Besa, and two children's books. Masiela has also written and translated poetry in English and Albanian. She has also translated poems and prayers by Mother Teresa. Currently, Masiela is set to star in the upcoming Lifetime dramatic thriller Forgetten Evil.

Sunday
Nov202011

Amanda Eliasch

Amanda Eliasch has lived a life only most can dream about! She's a published author, Fashion Editor for Genlux Magazine in Los Angeles, the British photographer and writer for The Collective Review, a visual artist, a playwright, and a mother, but most of all she is a woman who has taken almost every opportunity that has come her way and did not settle for less than she deserved.

As an author, Amanda has released four books, two of poetry and two of photography. "Cloak and Dagger Butterfly" and "Sins of a Butterfly" are collections of Amanda's poetry, while "Made by Indians and Made by Brazilians" features some of Amanda's photography work with Enrico Navarra Galleries and "British Artists At Work," published by Assouline, Franca Sozzani and Italian Vogue captures four generations of artists from the established to the emerging. Amanda photographed 46 artists in their studios including Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Gavin Turk, Fiona Rae, Sam Taylor-Wood, Julian Opie, Martin Maloney, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Michael Craig Martin, Chantal Joffe, Marc Quinn, Anish Kapoor, Rachael Whiteread, Jenny Saville, Gilbert and George, and 2003 Turner Prize nominee Grayson Perry.

In addition to the books above, Amanda's photography has been seen by millions worldwide, from magazines to galleries. Her work has been showcased in such galleries as The Black and White Gallery, The Cork Street Gallery, and the Proud Galleries. She has worked with Rushka Bergman at L’uomo Vogue photographing people like Ang Lee for the Cinema Edition.

As an artist, Amanda's work has be exhibited around the world. Her latest exhibition, "Peccadilloes," was presented at the Leadapron Gallery in Los Angeles. Amanda’s new neon works were based on the cartoon drawings of her by close friend and art patron, Kay Saatchi, which looked at the decline of modern morals through neon pieces, using Amanda as the subject of these drawings.

One of Amanda's latest projects is her play "As I Like It." After its successful premiere in London, "As I Like It" will be presented at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood, CA (1107 N Kings Road) from December 29-January 15. Based upon Amanda's rich and adventureous life, "As I Like It," according to press notes, "tells the tale of a woman with a ravenous appetite for life and how her unbridled enthusiasm ultimately contributes to a string of failed relationships." Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased here!

In addition all of Amanda's projects, she still finds time to give back to many causes close to her heart such as The British Film Institute, London Symphony Orchestra, The Tsunami in Phuket (which helps children of the tsunami in Phuket).

For more on Amanda be sure to visit http://amandaeliasch.net/ and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become an artist, writer, photographer, and fashion editor? A sequence of different events happened for each passion but I was inspired by my Father to write the play when he told me I would be able to write because of my DNA. He asked for 5,000 words in three days. I wrote them and he said that he loved it and I could only do something with them when he was dead. I was also inspired by Tracey Emin whose talents are numerous. Photography was a passion when I was young, I adored Man Ray. I loved his lighting, and I loved silent movies and I copied their techniques to create my original photographs. Photography has changed but in some ways has become even more interesting, but there was nothing more exciting than printing your own material. I dreamt of being a Fashion Editor when I was 12 years old. I have worked on a book with Franca Sozzani, British Artists at Work about artists and their studios. I was offered the job at Genlux when I was 46, so I took it. I have loved clothes since I was 18 months old and my grandmother took me shopping.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I have become interested in working with music and so a normal progression would be to work with a composer and create an artwork or theatrical piece. I love the early operas so perhaps I could work with Michael Nyman, Hans Zimmer or Alexandre Desplat.

3. What was it like for you to write your autobiography at age 42? What made you decide to turn it into a stage production? What was it like to revisit it? Would you consider writing a part 2? I have written part two, it is in another play, "Flash Back Fast Forward," in fact there are two plays which I work from to create a unique play for each actress. I like the idea of working with women of a certain age. Women nowadays look pretty incredible. I love theatre, I like the fact you can't guarantee what will happen. This is interesting. A film stays the same, a play changes. I loved drama school and studied with the Moscow Arts Theatre, RADA, ALRA in England. The day I left I went and studied photography. I am a magpie, I love to learn about new things.

4. What excites you about the upcoming run of "As I Like It"? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? What's it like to watch someone else act out your life? What is it like to have your son be part of this production? I think it is a play that is brutally honest. I sort of sit there with a cushion over my head saying "did I really say that?" or "I hate you." I am sure most people will be moved or recognize something in it about themselves. I like the idea that one of my friends say when seeing it "Your play was a bit surreal, the people you were talking about were watching it, there was audience participation." I suppose I would like people also to laugh a lot. It depends on how the actress plays it. I played my life for laughs not tragedy, or I would not have had the life I have had. That is my choice. My son Charles loves acting, he wanted to do it. He studies at Mannes in New York, and wishes to be an opera singer. He likes to do everything too. He was the only person who could possibly play the part. It is a family affair. If I could play football for the other son, I would create his team too.

5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing and putting a show together? Where is your favorite place to write? My favorite place to write is in bed. I like to work from bed, and I work in the middle of the night wherever I am. Making something happen is the most interesting part of the creative process. I like to finish everything.

6. What have you learned about yourself from all your endeavors? What has kept you grounded in an industry that can lead others down a darker path? I am not in any industry. I don't belong anywhere, I feel happiest when transferring energy into new places. I don't expect everybody to be a fan. I don't mind failure, I mind not having a go. That would irritate me more.

7. What has been your proudest moment so far, either professionally or personally or both? My proudest moment is watching my sons achieve what they want. I get satisfaction just from finishing things. Actually I don't think life this. The Devil was thrown out of Eden for Pride.

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? My father said you have about 7 opportunities in life and you had better recognize them and take them.

9. You've had such a varied career, what do you still want to accomplish? I have had a varied career because artistic people can do many things, just as a Banker could play Bach on the piano well. I don't think we have just one talent. I think in any case it is good to expand. In any case I like freedom away from being pigeon holed into any particular career.

10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? A writer or a musician in an Artist studio in Paris, someone like Mallet Stevens. He would have been perfect. Architect and artist, he moved in all circles. I live in Tamara de Lempicka's art studio in Paris. I love it there.

11. What have you learned from traveling the world? Flexibility. All countries are interesting but generally I prefer cities rather than the countryside. I love the Far East, India, all the colors, I like the knowledge and spirituality and not knowing what is going to happen next.

BONUS QUESTIONS: 

12. Favorite way to stay in shape? Favorite way to spend your day off? Yoga, a walk through Battersea Park in London.

13. Favorite skin care product? Favorite kind of shoes? I love Dr Sebagh's products. Shoes.....I wear Yves St Laurent.

14. Favorite website? I work on Genlux's so I shall be loyal.

15. Superman or Wonder Woman? Both.