Five Questions for Alec Duffy


Name: Alec Duffy

Title/Occupation: Artistic Director

Organization/Company: Hoi Polloi


1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?

I grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. My family moved out to Apple Valley, Minnesota for my high school years. Then I went to college at Duke. After college, I spent a lost year-and-a-half in San Francisco before moving to New York in 2000. In 2001, I moved to Paris for a year to study at the Lecoq theater school. Then I returned to New York where I eventually founded my theater company, Hoi Polloi.

2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?

When I was in college, I learned about two artists, Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh, who had spent a year tied together by a six-foot rope, with the rule that they couldn’t touch each other the entire year. They did this back in 1982, maybe. Their blending of art and life blew me away. Everything I do today is influenced by that. Every artistic venture is an attempt to address a personal weakness, and by opposing, end it.

3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?

Generosity. I struggle with selfishness always. Always.

4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.

I’m on a TCG directing fellowship right now, so my days are largely spent preparing for rehearsals and trying not to eat too much sugar.

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

Before I got this fellowship, I was working in offices for about six years. I’ll probably go back to that when the TCG well runs dry. I’m hopeful that I haven’t gotten too used to full-time art-making, and that it won’t be too hard to re-adjust to making art in the evenings and copies during the day.

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