Friday, February 12, 2010

Interview with Wildclaw Theatre's Anne Adams

Anne Adams was born and raised in Temple, Texas. She is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, MA and The School at Steppenwolf in Chicago. Chicago directing credits include Hot N Throbbing (Pine Box Theatre) The Revenants, and Legion, based on the novel by William Peter Blatty (Wildclaw Theatre). As an actor, Anne has worked with Steppenwolf, Northlight Theatre, Uma Productions, Pine Box Theatre, Greasy Joan, Victory Gardens, Collaboraction, and The Sandbox Theatre Project. Anne is a founding member of both Pine Box Theatre and Wildclaw Theatre, and serves as Wildclaw’s casting director. Anne is also an acting instructor at Black Box Acting Studio.

Fatally Yours: How and when did you fall in love with horror? 

Anne Adams: The first time I fell in love with horror was when I read the uncut version of Stephen King’s The Stand. I was acting in regional theatre up in Cape Cod for a summer when I was 23 and I had no car and no friends. I asked a guy from a used book store to recommend a book that would help me survive the summer and he put The Stand in my hands. I will be forever grateful to him, and it is still to this day, my favorite story.

Fatally Yours: What does horror mean to you? 

Anne Adams: Horror for me is being exposed to a character’s reasoning before they commit an act of violence. I truly believe that all of us are good at heart, but we are also insecure, angry, and scared – all of which (in my mind) help explain the evils that we are capable of inflicting on others as well as ourselves. Human nature makes us capable of ANYTHING. And that scares the shit out of me.

Fatally Yours: What are others’ reactions when you tell them you are involved in the horror genre?

Anne Adams: “Oh…that sounds interesting. Well…good for you sweetheart.”

Fatally Yours: Why do you think the horror genre has primarily been a man’s domain?

Anne Adams: I think there is a general misconception that men have a stronger and smarter stomach for what truly scares the shit out of people. All I know is that I would love to have a competition for who has the sickest imagination. I would win. I believe this 100%.

Fatally Yours: As a woman, do you think you are viewed differently than your male counterparts in the horror genre? If so, how and why?

Anne Adams: I have been pretty lucky in the sense that everyone around me has been extremely supportive of my efforts. My theatre company is predominantly men, and whenever I say I want to do something, they cheer me on and are ready to do whatever they can to help me look good. This may not be true of all boys, but my boys rock, and I am very thankful.

Fatally Yours: Even though women seem to be getting more and more involved behind the scenes in horror, why do you think there are fewer female horror directors, writers, producers, etc. in the genre than males?

Anne Adams: I can’t speak for other women, but there was a long period of time when I was intimidated by even suggesting that I could be in charge of anything horror. After a period of observing other artists, I realized that artistic power isn’t won from being a wet blanket, but it isn’t won from being an ego maniac either. Maybe it is harder to conceal feeling desperate for success when you are given one chance to either shine or fuck the whole thing up…I know this is a weird answer to the question, but…I think it is extremely different and subjective for each woman.

Fatally Yours: What elements can female filmmakers/authors/journalists/etc. bring to the horror genre that are lacking in males’ perspectives?

Anne Adams: How the female mind actually works. The jealousies, pain, anger and violent tendencies of a woman are much more fucked up and different than a male might think or understand – but only if the female filmmaker/author/journalist/etc is brave enough to expose our sex in an honest and unapologetic way.

Fatally Yours: Do you think it’s harder for women to be taken seriously in a genre that seems to be dominated by males? 

Anne Adams: To be honest, no. It’s 2010 and I think that line has been played out. Attention women: if you want to be taken seriously don’t go bitch about it, but instead provide the example. Be the one to set the bar.

Fatally Yours: Since you’ve been involved with the horror genre, have you noticed a change in women’s roles in the industry? 

Anne Adams: I just pay attention to the work. Whether it’s a man or a woman producing it doesn’t cross my mind as long as it’s smart.

Fatally Yours: Do you ever get annoyed at how women in horror movies always end naked or with their clothes ripped off? Do monsters not like men’s abs?!

Anne Adams: I don’t think that women always get their clothes ripped off – yes, there are a lot of shit movies where tits and torture scenes are made specifically for a movie theater full of men to get off, but what about Silence of the Lambs? Let’s Scare Jessica to Death? The Orphanage? Misery? Hard Candy? The Descent? Cat People? The Exorcist? If I never saw a woman be a bad ass in this genre, then I never would have embraced the genre in the first place.

Fatally Yours: What are your top three movies with gratuitous chick/boob/sex scenes?

Anne Adams: Slumber Party Massacre, Pieces, and Friday the 13th.

Fatally Yours: What horror movie would you say is equally fair in terms of men being objectified or at least, losing the same amount of clothes?

Anne Adams: Hard Candy starring Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page!! Can we say longest castration scene EVER? GOD. That was hard to watch.

Fatally Yours: Do you feel you’ve become desensitized to stereotypical scenes in horror like the half-naked girl screaming and running for her life in slow motion? Or are these types of familiar horror tropes still effective and necessary? 

Anne Adams: I enjoy the stereotype sometimes, but it doesn’t scare me, so instead of feeling desensitized, I have a good laugh or feel nothing.

Fatally Yours: Do you feel that other people view women as being “soft” and not able to endure horror as well as men? How do you fight this stereotypical view?

Anne Adams: I do not. I am actually accused of being too hard sometimes. As far as fighting the stereotype, don’t worry about it. No one wants to see a woman pretending to be a man. Just be a woman with a brain.
Fatally Yours: What women in horror do you admire and why?

Anne Adams: Kathryn Bigelow – because Near Dark is one of the most kick ass films of all time. Mary Shelley, because she created one of the best monsters of all time, and Linda Blair, for embracing the scariest character of all time.

Fatally Yours: What advice would you give women who want to become involved in the horror genre?

Anne Adams: Never try to be one of the boys. Be a woman, and tell a story from your perspective and experience.

Fatally Yours: What has been your best experience while working in the horror community? What’s the worst?

Anne Adams: Directing The Revenants for Wildclaw Theatre….zombies on stage was a delight…especially when they accidently got loose. The worst experience wasn’t while I was working, but I watched Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer at the Portage Theater. I was so angry I wanted to vomit. I wanted to vomit even harder when the director of Henry was kind enough to speak to the audience about his inspiration for the movie, which apparently, was nothing.

Fatally Yours: What’s the last horror movie that made you think “this is some effed up shiznit!”? 

Anne Adams: A French movie called Inside. I can guarantee I will never watch that movie again. JESUS.

Fatally Yours: What’s one horror movie you think is HIGHLY overrated?

Anne Adams: The Blair Witch Project.

Fatally Yours: What are your favorite horror films, books, etc.?

Anne Adams: The Stand, The Descent, Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, The Sixth Sense.

Fatally Yours: What is your ultimate goal while working in the horror genre?

Anne Adams: Directing and producing quality works consistently.

Fatally Yours: What upcoming projects are you working on?

Anne Adams: Legion based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, adapted for the stage by Charley Sherman. We open on March 15th 2010. FINGERS CROSSED

Fatally Yours: Where can people find more info on you and Wildclaw Theatre?

Anne Adams: Facebook, Twitter and Wildclaw Theater’s official site.

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