Robert Falls

Every show has its own explosions, says Robert Falls, the artistic director of the Goodman Theatre. He just underlines them. “Of course,” he adds, “there are those who accuse me of underlining with a heavy hand.” Just where Falls will apply his metaphorical highlighter in The Seagull (opening October 16th) remains one of the season’s most tantalizing questions. In the past, he has drawn inspiration from a range of influences, such as the Rolling Stones, two of whom actually showed up for his 2006 staging of King Lear. Curious what artistic and pop-culture-related ideas might factor into the aesthetic of The Seagull, we asked Falls what he’s reading, listening to, and buying now.

Lately to chill out, I …
… read spy novels by Olen Steinhauer.

Last three puchases
1. An art object by Adam Elias Hines, as part of Chicago’s Project Onward
2. Momofuku, David Chang’s cookbook
3. Four pounds of mail-order bacon from Allan Benton’s Tennessee smokehouse

Tacked on my mental bulletin board
A. The photography of Sally Mann
B. Quotes from My Life in Art, the autobiography of the Russian director Konstantin Stanislavski, who directed The Seagull in 1898
C. The paintings of the Russian landscape artist Isaak Levitan

Currently I’m listening to …
… a few Russians
Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Varlamov, Rybasov
… a few modern masters
Tom Waits, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen
… and dance pop!
Madonna’s “Ray of Light”

Plays I read every year
Measure for Measure, The Iceman Cometh, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and The Cherry Orchard

On my nightstand
Fiction by Saul Bellow and Martin Amis (“I’ve never read anything by either of them.”)
Accidental Genius, a biography of the independent film icon John Cassavetes

Films that pique my interest visually
A. The 1983 Soviet film Nostalghia by Andrei Tarkovsky 
B. The 2003 Claude Miller film La Petite Lili, which is said to reinterpret The Seagull

Recent travel destinations
Moscow, Berlin, Las Vegas, Upper Michigan



Photography: Andreas E. G. Larsson