Five Questions for Michael Gardner


Name: Michael Gardner
Title/Occupation: Co-Artistic Director
Organization: The Brick

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

I grew up in various suburbs along the east coast but, more meaningfully, within the collective imagined landscape of Allen’s, Scorsese’s and Bernstein’s New York. I think I ended up here as the inevitable result of those two childhoods.

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

I’m a sucker for lots of 1960s movies that threw out the rule books (Breathless, L’avventura, Persona, Psycho…). Andrei Serban’s Trojan Women was a lightning bolt to me at one point. Showed me how performance can operate as a living ritual. How theater can exploit the means of religion to tell a story. I steal from that experience frequently.

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

Actual skill? Photographic memory. I so admire people who can call to mind anything they have read and anything they have heard in an instant. How useful would that be as an artist—to be able to recall and refer to anything I have ever laid my eyes upon?

Imaginary skill? Photographic memory. Really? You remember everything you ever read? Really? Everything?

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

Usually I daylight as a legal secretary. You’ll thank me for not describing it. It’s actually not that bad, but entirely unmemorable. Suffice it to say, that I emerge grateful to submerge into a world of fantasy.

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

Nope. Unless you count the uber-decision not to train in a “professional” career. The outcome was a lifetime of art!


The Brick’s Antidepressant Festival runs June 5-July 4 at The Brick Theater in Williamsburg. For more information and to purchase tickets visit

The world financial markets have collapsed, the banks are insolvent, unemployment is rising, wars rage out of control, global warming approaches, pirates roams the seas, and there is nothing good on television. But this summer, The Brick will write you a prescription for all your woes*: 19 theatrical productions about instant and medicated happiness. From June 5 through July 4, 2009 The Brick Theater, Inc. will present THE ANTIDEPRESSANT FESTIVAL. See? It’s all better now.

*Side effects may include sock puppets, 1980s Text Adventure Video Games, booze, pills, casinos, clowns, dogs, Furry Sex Communities, STD’s, amnesiacs, Glee Club singers, robot wars, serial killers, pirate radio, frogs, bears, Schadenfreude and Minnesotans.

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