AAPEX Interview: Prav Menon-Johansson — Michael Bradford , Prav Menon-Johansson — AAPEX

Sunday, November 21, 2010

AAPEX Interview: Prav Menon-Johansson

Much to my delight (and surprise), AAPEX is looking forward to a London reading of Michael Bradford's stunning new play OLIVES AND BLOOD, about the assassination of Spanish poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. The reading came about serendipitously but would not be taking place if it were not for the interest and commitment of a very industrious director/producer named Prav Menon-Johansson. I asked Prav to tell us something about herself and here is what she had to say.

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
I grew up in suburban London where the major influence for culture was the world of Bollywood movies. I was always struck with the emotional content of the films – the young woman running across the top of the mountain singing about her lost love, dancers always appearing like a Greek chorus from nowhere. The world of these movies was very colorful and without realizing it I was immersed in a very passionate ‘theatrical’ art form.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
I began my artistic career as a set and costume designer. My first set design was at the ADC Theatre at the University of Cambridge, England - The House of Bernarda Alba by Lorca. I trained in design at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and when I was living in Boston (2006-2008), I designed After Ashley for Company One (resident company at the Boston Center for the Arts(BCA)), Sacred Hearts for Zeitgeist Stage and a number of other productions. All design work can be seen on www.pravmj.com. Living in the vibrant theatre community in Boston inspired me to train as a director at the American Repertory Theatre (ART). I directed for Way Theatre Artists The Kiss by Mark Harvey Levine in FeverFest 2007 and also participated in SLAMBoston 2007. Also I was assistant to Paul Daigneault for the Mystery of Edwin Drood for SpeakEasy Stage.

What took you to London and what have you done/are you doing there?
Since coming back to London in 2008 I have directed premieres of plays - The Choir by Errol Bray (Australian) Busted Jesus Comix by David Johnston (USA). In 2010 I founded Liminal Space Productions to focus on new contemporary writing – American Bytes and American Bytes Back, an evening of new, ten minute American plays that introduced this genre to British audiences and Lashings of Whipped Cream by Fiona Samuel (New Zealand) which was part of the Nursery Festival. All directing work can be seen on www.pravmjdirect.com.

Share with us about this reading of Olives & Blood.
I am very excited about staging Olives and Blood in London. My love for the South of Spain and Lorca deepened when I went to Spanish school for a month in Seville where the passion and pain is felt in the terrain, unlike anything in the north of Spain. I flew to Granada at the end of October 2010 to discuss the nuances of the play with Michael Bradford and after the meeting I felt it would be beneficial to have a reading of the play in London before he went back to the USA. At very short notice, Caravanserai Acting Studios have allowed us to use their space to mount this reading on December 15th 2010 at 7:30 pm and Michael Bradford will be hosting a Q & A at the reading.

Prav Menon-Johansson
Mobile: 07799 412328
Website: www.pravmjdirect.com

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