Three Separate Accounts of Mining Silver
from the Vineyard
Nicky Silver: "I had been writing plays and directing them myself for like six years, and I was getting tired, so I sent this one [Pterodactyls] out."
Doug Aibel: "The first time I read it, I had that wonderful sense that you have once or twice in your theatrical lifetime, of being in the presence of a major new voice."
David Warren: "I was a couple pages into the play, and I thought, how do I not know this writer?"
Doug Aibel: "I knew after reading Pterodactyls that it was a play that could be dramaturged to death, could easily be categorized and watered down, and I was determined not to do that. I felt that the play deserved a hearing as quickly as possible."
Nicky Silver: "Doug Aibel put me in touch with David Warren."
Doug Aibel: "I just thought David would be a good match...that his theatrical intelligence and precision would suit the themes of Pterodactyls beautifully."
David Warren: "I knew I wanted to direct this play."
Nicky Silver: "He had introduced me to five or six directors, and I was so tired of listening to bone-head directors that I said to him, 'I'm tired of listening to directors tell me what the play is about,' and so I said, 'Let me tell you what the play is about.' And he agreed."
David Warren: "I got on the phone with him and he wanted me to list my credentials and I almost hung up. And when I did start to list my credits he said, 'You're too big! You don't want to direct my play,' and I thought that was funny."
Doug Aibel: "And they hit it off, so that launched the relationship."
Silver, Warren, and Aibel
That's how it all started: the playwright-director-artistic director relationship between Nicky Silver, David Warren, and Doug Aibel that has been the creative force behind six years worth of Silver's work at the Vineyard Theatre, including Pterodactyls, Raised in Captivity, The Maiden's Prayer, The Eros Trilogy, and the current production, The Altruists. So what makes it work? And what makes this such a good way of working, for both the artists and the theater?
"I think there's a lot of mutual love and respect. They are very much a team when they are in a room together," says Aibel, speaking as artistic director of the Vineyard, where he's been in the unique position to closely observe Silver and Warren working together--again and again. "I think that David's spirit is extremely collaborative, which suits Nicky beautifully. When one of his plays is launched, he knows that in David he has a director who will listen to him, who will involve him all aspects of the production, from design to casting to the rehearsal life of the play."
According to Warren, from very beginning of working together on Pterodactyls, he and Silver were simpatico. "There was something that told me I should work with this person," he says, "and I really thought that more strongly when we began auditions. The casting process was really interesting because we seemed to agree on almost everything."