Two years ago, his renowned theater company, Theatre Geo, faced extinction at the hands of his landlord (a Hollywood printing company). After garnering the contract for a recent and very popular film, the printer was in dire need of more room--and Theatre Geo's space, adjacent to the shop, was in the way. Par for the course, Hartley and his company finished their final season with style and dignity.
Despite the challenges of life and theater in Los Angeles, Hartley continues to produce. His current show--Ladies of the Corridor, starring Patty McCormack (Oscar nominee for The Bad Seed)--opens March 13 at the Tamarind Theatre in Hollywood. When asked what moral the play might provide for theatergoers, Geo replies, "Never give up." How appropriate. Who were your childhood heroes? My parents. My father was more of a friend and teacher. He was older than Mom and very wise. He would take us for walks and treat us to special things, but Mom was our rock. Who are your heroes today? Actors. They face so much adversity, coming from such a challenging emotional base. What was your first love? Theater. Apples or Oranges? Apples. Mountaintops or seashores? Seashores. Sounds or silence? Silence. Favorite performer? Vanessa Redgrave. Laurel Canyon or the 101? Laurel Canyon (he laughs). Rodeo Drive or the Swap Meet. Rodeo Drive, I guess. Boxers or briefs? Boxers. Actually, nothing. If I have to--boxers. Fences or bridges? Bridges. Butter or margarine? Butter. Coffee or tea? Coffee. Beginnings or endings? Beginnings. London or Paris? London. New York or L.A.? (emphatically) L.A. Essence or subtlety? (he pauses) Tough choice? I love them both. Subtlety. Why's that? It kind of goes back to Cleopatra. She wasn't necessarily the most beautiful woman in the world, but she had all that mystery, and you bought into that.