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Greg Hardison – Playwright and Director of Museum Theatre (Part 2 of 2)

By Admin | August 7, 2010

Greg Hardison is the Director of Museum Theatre at the Kentucky Historical Society. We visited with him recently in Frankfurt, Kentucky and continues with his interview

When did you decide to become a playwright and what influenced your decision? I began writing plays when I owned my own company.

Do you develop your own ideas for your plays or do your directors suggest topics?

I develop my own ideas for the most part, but they are influenced by institutional goals and initiatives, new exhibitions, teachers needs, current trends and audience interests.

I have total confidence from my directors and supervisors. There is never a lack of ideas really, but I get to shape and mold it. We use a lot of market research, scholarly guidance, and gut feelings to make our final decisions.

Who is your favorite playwright?

Shakespeare wins hands down as the best of all time. His works stand the test of time. Always new interpretations, but the text remains as important as ever. There are many others that I like too, but usually on a play-by-play basis.

Which current playwright today is the most overrated?

None. I realize that is a calculated response, but everyone is entitled to their own voice. Some are just more appreciated, understood, and popular than others.

But art isn’t about being popular, it’s about saying what you think and feel. Just ask the guy who cut his ear off, or the fact that most artists die poor, and don’t become famous until after they die.

Other than your own works, how often do you attend the theatre?

Sad to say, I don’t attend as much as I would like to. My job and my family keep me terribly busy. I try to see about five to six pieces a year, mostly local productions with friends, and the occasional traveling piece. There is some great local theatre, if you know where to look. I love Balagula Theatre in Lexington, and Woodford County Theatre Association.

Are you working on any plays that are not for the Historical Society?

I have no interest in writing beyond my job. I get to experiment with all of my ideas there, and don’t have the time to develop beyond that.

Do you have any desire to try a screenplay?

I have ideas, but no immediate desire to do so. Maybe some day. We have the potential of grant money to develop a video series around the Civil War, that is as close as I will come for a while.

I write and produce so much in conjunction with my job, that I really don’t have much of a need to express myself beyond that. I have other hobbies. Playwrighting and production is my job, when I get home I want to do other things.

What overall mission have you been given by your directors?

Well, I helped to define the mission of the Kentucky Historical Society, of the Education Department, and wrote the mission of the Museum Theatre program.

In short, our goal is to connect with the past, provide perspective on the present, and inspire thought for the future. There are tons of objectives, strategies and outcomes that branch out from there.

We are in the process of institutional strategic planning now for the next three years. It’s all interconnected from there.

What is one little known fact about Kentucky that you would like to have readers know?

It probably doesn’t mean “Dark and Bloody Ground,” it is the home to the cheeseburger, two guys name Cassius Clay (not related, and 100 years apart), Hopkinsville may have been visited by aliens, and may have had a great swiss silver mine.

Oh, and middle eastern explorers may have written grafitti on a rock in Clay Co. hundreds of years before Dr. Walker. Ain’t the study of history great? Well, if you believe all of that, then I’ll tell you about the blue people from Troublesome creek. True story!!! Really.

Topics: Circus Performers, Museum Directors, Playwrights, Producers | Comments Off

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