We recently took a moment to catch up with Julia Heitner, who is helming this year’s Pint Sized Play Festival since Ben is on the East Coast, Stuart is putting together the SF Olympians Festival and Brian is helping run the Atmostheatre show. Julia has been with SF Theater Pub from the beginning and she’s one of our favorite people to work with. This interview is full of reasons why!
How/why did you first get involved with the theater in general?
I got started at an early age performing in school plays and I took drama courses all through high school in my small hometown, San Anselmo, in Marin County. I also apprenticed and interned with Marin Shakespeare Company in my teens, which gave me my first taste of professional theater.
How did you first get involved with the San Francisco Theater Pub?
I met the future artistic directors of Theater Pub when I performed in The Frogs with AtmosTheater. I was asked by Ben Fisher, one of the artistic directors, to be in the chorus for The Cyclops, the very first Theater Pub show!
This is going to be your seventh theater pub! What do you like so much about us that keeps you coming back?
Really?!! I’m not sure if that sounds like a lot or a little. I’ve attended almost every theater pub so I feel like I’ve been part of every show so far. I keep coming back because it feels like my home base in theater, I always feel welcome whether I am acting, directing or attending a performance. And every month the programming is so vastly different. Everything from Ancient Greek comedies to original works like in the upcoming Pint Sized Plays!
What’s been your favorite Theater Pub experience so far?
I’ve really enjoyed every Theater Pub that I’ve been a part of and don’t have any negative experience. As a director I would say Pint Sized Plays in 2010 because I got to direct a super crazy and hilarious play (Queen Mab in Drag by Stuart Bousel) with really funny actors (Ashley Cowan, Lila Davidson, Rob Ready) and be part of this huge sold out performance experience. As an actor I would say Theater for the Inattentive back in January. I have never been a part of a production like that before – actually I don’t think there has ever been a show quite like that one. It was a wild ride to perform over 50 different stories in under an hour and I got to play at least a dozen different characters. I had worked with the director (Victor Carrion) and almost the entire cast previously and I felt extremely comfortable playing and experimenting in rehearsal and felt very proud of the performance as a whole.
How did you get into directing?
I got interested in directing in college at UC Santa Cruz and was able to assist and direct a few shows while I was a student. I then had a directing internship with Calshakes on one of the craziest productions of The Merchant of Venice perhaps ever performed. I didn’t get back into directing until last year and have been lucky enough to continue to be offered opportunities to direct for many local theater festivals.
Which do you like more, acting or directing?
I can’t decide! I love digging into a new character, working on scenes and the unpredictability of performing from night to night. I also love the controlled and visual aspect of directing and getting to collaborate with talented actors. As a director, I am always amazed at how freaking awesome the actors I work with are, and I suddenly can’t imagine being capable of doing what they do.
Ever wanted to try your hand at writing a play?
Yes! I would love to! Writing seems scary to me, but it is definitely something I would like to do in the future. I even have some ideas for an upcoming Theater Pub…
What upcoming shows in the San Francisco Theater scene are you most looking forward to?
I am very interested in seeing Ghost Light when it comes to Berkeley Rep and Tenderloin at Cutting Ball. I’m personally looking forward to The San Francisco Olympians Festival where I will be directing a reading of a new full-length by M.R. Fall and hopefully acting as well. Also the touring production of Bring it On: The Musical, just because.
What’s the number one reason why people should keep seeing theater?
Think about Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. You never know when things are going to get crazy. And to quote a Theater Pub regular, Cody Rishell, at a performance of The Boar’s Head, “Shit just got real.”
Pint Sized Plays II runs August 15, 16, 22, 29 and 30 at 8 PM at the Cafe Royale (800 Post Street, San Francisco). Get there early because we will fill up and we have to cap the audience if it gets too full!