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Study Guide

The Tallest Tree in the Forest

The Story | Subjects | Creators | Art Forms | Enrichment Activities

 

Moisés Kaufman (Director)

Where are you from?
I am from Caracas, Venezuela.

What previous experience prepared you for working on this production?

As a writer, I have often found myself fascinated with historical material, so I have worked on a play about Oscar Wilde called Gross Indecency, [a play about] the murder of Matthew Shepard [The Laramie Project], I’ve worked on a play about a 70-year-old German transvestite [I Am My Own Wife]. I find a lot of inspiration in real life.

What do you most enjoy about working on this production?

Daniel Beaty’s virtuosity; he’s a real source of inspiration. The fact that this performer can sing like an opera singer and play so many different characters so accurately, in addition to being a wonderful writer, is a delightful thing to bring into a rehearsal room.

What question would you most like to ask an audience after the show?
What is your experience of the character of Paul Robeson?

 

Daniel Beaty (Writer and Performer)

Where are you from?
I am from Dayton, Ohio though I have made New York City my home for the past decade.

What previous experience prepared you for working on this production?
As a writer, I have also created a play about the life of Roland Hayes, a predecessor of Robeson. Also, I did a senior thesis project on Robeson at Yale. My studies as a classical vocalist and previous works as a playwright were also very informative for this process.

What do you most enjoy about working on this production?
Robeson's stance as both artist and activist still has tremendous relevance today. Also, Moisés Kaufman is a tremendous director. We have developed both a friendship and artistic collaboration that makes the process an absolute thrill.

What question would you most like to ask an audience after the show?
What is the responsibility of the artist in issues of social justice?