Five Questions for George Lugg

IMG_0311Name: George Lugg
Title: Associate Director, REDCAT

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

The first half of my childhood was spent on Long Island, in a housing development where the streets were named after American-made cars. I lived on DeVille Drive. My family then moved to Madison, Indiana, a small town on the Ohio River and settled into a house on Main Street. Really. And after the initial shock, I became actually quite happy, and my father, rather unexpectedly, started acting in Louisville, Kentucky, where a former NYC firefighter who spoke like a guy from the Bronx met the demand for tough guys and cops and smarmy businessmen in a town where everyone had a drawl. That began my association with theaters, and is probably why I have almost no interest in traditional theater. I dreamed of being a French teacher. Which lead me to Paris for a bit, where I met an interesting band of Seattlites, followed them back to Seattle, and wound my way to On the Boards in 1989, where I saw so much work that excited and interested me that I’ve pretty much been working in the field ever since.

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

It would have to be Jay Anson’s horror novel 666, his follow-up to Amityville Horror. It was the first time I really remember thinking “this is crap.” I can’t think of a more defining moment. I was in the 6th grade and living on Long Island and I had thought Amityville Horror was the coolest book ever. So I grabbed this fat, paperback edition off a rack at the library and didn’t even make it through the first chapter. It broke my trust. Evil voices were rendered in ALL CAPS! It was forced and unbelievable and cheap. Something started to take shape in my consciousness: that I was on my own. That the library was probably filled with useless things, and that I couldn’t be passive and had to hunt for things of value. It was the beginning of an independent opinion, and perhaps a quest.

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

I would like to know exactly how to let go. It’s this thing that I understand intellectually: That is the past, it is no longer relevant… But, really, do we have conscious control of such things? If so, I would like some instruction. Grief, longing, love, a humiliating moment—–what the hell are they anchored to? I can play shrink with myself and say “Obviously, you don’t really want to let go of these things.” But I am pretty sure I do, I just don’t seem to get the mechanics. So I wait. And you’d be surprised how long it can take to forget.

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

I work for REDCAT in Los Angeles. My title is Associate Director. Maybe it’s like bowling. I take hundreds of little details and roll them into a ball. Then I stand and look head-on at a line-up of pins, take aim, and try to knock down as many as I can. I think that’s right. Only at the end of the day, whether I’ve knocked them all down or missed entirely, there’s a show.

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

Yeah, sure. I chose my job. Because it was the right thing to do, for me. Now I have a job.

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