Interview with Vito Giancaspro (Set Designer)

1. What’s your name and role in this play?

– Vito Giancaspro : Creative Set Designer

2. What drew you to this project?

–  I have been producing events and multimedia exhibitions in New York and Italy since 1997. Besides curating exhibitions for visual artists, I have also designed stages for dance performance and fashion show. It is with my great enthusiasm that I have accepted the invitation by the MA’sPlayhouse director, Antonevia O. Coultes to collaborate at “Ti Jean and His Brothers” play.

3. I wanted to work with you because looking at your large drawing titled “Points of View”, I felt like I had stepped into the forest world of Ti Jean. What was your inspiration for this piece that seems to incorporate so much of the soul of a Caribbean/tropical forest?

–  I want to thank you for your statement about feeling absorbed by the entire environment depicted on canvas, such as my drawing, “Points of View” representing a corner of the Puerto Rican rainforest. In fact my goal was to welcome the observer to experience the totality of the environment and to feel-like being dragged into the reproduction of  the natural resource, such a the Caribbean/tropical forest. This particular artwork is part of a Triptych as the private collection of one of my clients who committed me the drawing of a forest. I personalized the idea by choosing the rainforest during my visit to Puerto Rico, in which I fell totally in love. Besides the perspective of the waterflow I also included the optical effect of depth by adding and shaping a series of curving trees toward the center of the canvas in order to create the illusion of the aerial perspective.

4. How has your experience been of working with MA’sPlayhouse?

–  My experience working with MA’sPlayhouse director Antonevia, has been pleasant and dynamic while following deadlines and taking care of transportations and installation issues of materials for the set design. My keen eye for details, such as building, shaping the real objects and installing them on the stage for the show, met Antonevia’s sensibility in being caring, aware, and concerned about the maintenance of such objects, to be preserved during and after the play. My collaborative work with MA’sPlayhouse is still in progress and I thank you Antonevia for being helpful and available as a great leader and team player in order to meet the play and community needs, related to the targeted audience expectations.

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Gillian Rougier (Light Tech)

My favorite quote is when Bolom says, “I’m born. I will die. I’m born. I will die.”

A superstition from childhood: if you had a red mark on your neck, it probably meant that a succuyah had bitten you the night before, while you were sleeping.

What drew me to this play: I was drawn to the folkloric aspect present in the play. I’m also really drawn to the existential questions and themes in the play.

Where I’m from: I’m from Trinidad and Tobago.


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Jaine Huenergard (Bolom)


1. Your favorite quote from Ti Jean? Devil: “Yet we were one light once up there, the old Man and I, till even today some can’t tell us apart.”

2. a superstition you recall from your childhood: Because of the movie “One Crazy Summer” and my Dad, I thought that if you were making a strange obnoxious face and someone slapped you on the back at the same time, your face would stay that way forever.

3. What drew you to this play? The language of the play is so rich and built with so many layers to dig into. Folktales and stories of Good vs. Evil are also always intriguing to me and pull you into a world that is both mysterious and strangely familiar. How do you pick a side when neither one is as it seems?

4. Where are you from? Born in Taegu,South Korea, adopted, grew up in Belfair, Washington.

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Leonie Bell (Bird)

1. Favorite quote from “Ti Jean and His Brothers”: “Come, then,
     Stretch your wings and soar, pass over the fields
     Like the last shadow of night, imps, devils, bats,
     Eazaz, Beelzebub, Cacarat, soar! Quick, quick, the sun!”
2. Childhood superstition: Look each other in the eyes when you cheers each other, or you will have seven years of bad luck/sex!
3. What drew you to this play? I grew up with Grimm’s fairytales as a large part of my literary and imaginative life. Ti Jean and His Brothers, offers
    similar sensibilities- humor, desire, magic, and danger. Derek Walcott proves once again, fairytales are rarely meant for
4.Where are you from?: I was born and raised in a German-American household in Berlin, Germany.

Meet Lee Ryan (Gros Jean)


1. My favorite line in “Ti Jean and His Brothers” would have to be from scene one ” I have an iron arm is only money I missing.
2. Childhood superstition: When I was younger and I had the hiccups my mom with wet her hand in her saliva and make a cross over my forehead it actually works.
3. What drew you to this play: The character humor and his strength and the way I identified with the role.
4. Where are you from: I’m from brooklyn New york.

Meet Alex Scelso (Frog)

1) “Here’s a bundle of sticks old wisdom has forgotten. Together they are strong, Apart, they are all rotten.”

2) I remember as a child being really scared of bad luck. So I was always careful around mirrors and if there was a penny on the ground, it made my day. I used to have nightmares practically every night when I was little, so my mom hung up a dream catcher to allow the positivity to come into my room at night, but it would trap and keep out the monsters and bad energy. Oh yeah, and reminding me every night that there were bars on our windows, triple locks on the doors and that there is nothing we have that anyone would want to steal.
3) I love working with an ensemble and this play definitely calls for that. Every character in the world of the play, animal, human or demon, is interconnected and must coexist. Plays that involve family relationships have also been making a huge impression on me lately.
4) I am a Brooklyn guy born and raised. Ukrainian and Austrian descent on my mom’s side and Italian from my dad’s side.

Meet Nanda Abella (Mother)

1. your favorite quote from Ti Jean
From Ti Jean to the devil: “Temper, temper. Or you might lose something. Now what next?”
 2. a superstition you recall from your childhood
oh my….so many. Okay. My favorite one is this one: Never have an hydrangea plant at home if you have daughters and they’re not married yet. Otherwise, they will remain single. Funny enough, I’ve always both liked hydrangeas and thought that remaining single was not a bad option in itself, but my mom was very determined when it came to this superstition. She only got an hydrangea plant –because she also likes them– when her youngest daughter got married (that would be me).
 3. what drew you to this play?
The opportunity to dive into a new world –the world of the Caribbean culture and its folktales– and also the complexity and richness of Derek Walcott’s text.
 4. Where are you from?
Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Meet Alyssa (Firefly)

alyssa headshot1. your favorite quote from Ti Jean
“No, I would have known life, rain on my skin, sunlight on my forehead. Master, you have lost. Pay him! Reward him!”
2. a superstition you recall from your childhood
Make a u turn when a cat that looks even remotely black crosses.  Even if that means taking the long way home.
3. what drew you to this play?
I met Antonevia at a friend’s performance and as we sat together and began to talk, I became entranced by her humor and interest in so many disciplines.  When she told me she was working on a Derek Walcott play, I was eager to help, since he is one of my favorite writers.  I read the script and was hooked.  Then, when I showed up at rehearsal, the rest of the cast drew me in and made me look forward to sharing this piece with them every day.  I have learned so much about the way that performers can work together and energize each other.  Also, I have gained a deeper knowledge of lighting and sound production.  I feel so lucky to have met such an amazing, nurturing group of people.
4. Where are you from?
StatenJerzy, the land of oil tanks, highways and italianisms.