10 Questions with Talking With… Director Tom Thon

Tom Thon, Director of Talking With... at Outofbox Theatre
Tom Thon

After a successful run  in Marietta, Out of Box Theatre’s production of Talking With… by Jane Martin will be returning for another run at the Academy Theatre. Director Tom Thon discusses the production, the theater and more in this updated 10 Questions feature.


What do you think attracts audiences to the production?
Strong women being successful, being strong. I think people want to see more strong women of character in our popular culture, and this show tests that theory.

Will the entire cast return with the show?
We are grateful to have our entire cast back for this remount.

What makes Academy Theatre a good fit for the show’s remount?
Academy Theatre is a charming and highly functional theater space. Artistic Director Robert Drake offered to partner with Out Of Box Theatre Co. for this remount. The combination of a well known venue with outstanding resources and staff is a truly wonderful thing to have as a producer and/or as a director. Out of Box Theatre Co. is producing a twin bill by playwright Ray Fast at the Alley Stage in Marietta. I will be directing with auditions sometime in July.

What can audiences expect when they see the production?
Audiences can expect to be invited into the very intimate world of 12 successfulwomen, who are willing to share their experience of struggle and joy and the choices they’ve made to live as they see fit.

What drew you to Talking With… by Jane Martin?
Well the first time or this time? You see 27 years ago I was working at the Studio Theater of Long Island as an actor and getting roles in just about everything. The artistic Director chose this play as his next show and of course there are no men in it. I applied for the job of stage manager, and in short order realized I was in over my head. I hired an assistant, and she became my wife the following year. So having a history with the show, I had some very strong impression about the scenes and the women in them which were different than the director I had worked for. When Carolyn Choe approached me about directing for her, it was a no brainer. The show makes you think about the meaning of success, survival and what victory means to a variety of people. It challenges our personal paradigms about these things. I believe theater should give us food for thought and have tried to use that belief to guide me in directing this show.

Do you think the play is challenging is for the actresses involved?
Gosh yes! The long form monologue is one of the most difficult theatrical genres for actors. It is basically a one person show in miniature. The characters in Talking With… require the actresses to access their own experiences and find the courage to share them with strangers.

What makes this cast an enjoyable one to work with?
The women in Talking With… were of course selected by me during the audition process. What I looked for was a clear talent, some training and most of all the ability to adjust under my direction. Every one of these women has those qualities in abundance.

What is your impression of Atlanta’s theater scene?
Metro Atlanta is a veritable hive of acting talent. It is fertile ground, even in this devastating economic period for the performing arts, and the struggle established theaters are having to remain viable will surely make them and the theater community stronger. The theater world never surrenders and never gives up.

What has been your favorite production to be a part of?
My favorite production as an actor was Strider, based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy about a horse in pre-revolutionary Russia in which I played the lead. That was a long time ago. My favorite production as a director would have to be Talking With… at Out Of Box Theater.

What are you working on next?
I’m directing a double header of beautifully written, gritty one acts by Ray Fast called Scorned & Touched. Each piece compliments the other and will be a joy for the actors and the audience. Auditions will be sometime in July. Look for it at The Alley Stage in Marietta around Halloween 2012.


Out of Box Theatre’s production of Talking With… plays June 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website.