Max started as an actor, but found his way into academia and directing. He has a PhD from Tufts University and is an assistant professor at UCCS. He loves the classics, but wasn’t good enough at Latin to pursue a classics degree. To him, the greats are about immovable objects and unstoppable forces. That’s drama. He finds these same forces in An Iliad!
Max Shulman: Boston, MA
TW: Home now?
MS: At Elevation in Colorado Springs
TW: How are you doing right now?
MS: I’m hungry!
TW: What are you listening to on Spotify (iTunes, Sirius, etc) or watching (on Netflix, Hulu, etc)?
MS: During the pandemic, after 7 hours of Zoom, I put on Al Green. I don’t know why but he absolutely melts away that feeling of numbness.
Watching – the New York City Ballets that they have been periodically releasing. I can’t get over the pictures they paint with bodies on stage.
TW: Who are your heroes in real life?
MS: My father and his father.
TW: What is your most treasured possession?
MS: A silly checkered hat that my Great Uncle Joe used to wear.
TW: What is the best gift you have ever received?
MS: A surprise party where people came from London on my thirtieth birthday.
TW: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
MS: Students make fun of how often I say “Do you buy it?”
Around the house we quote Tom Stoppard – “Interesting… Publishable.” And Samuel Beckett - “No better, no worse, no change.”
TW: What is your motto?
MS: Beckett again – “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” To me, to work in the theatre means to fail. Failure is inevitable. But the attempt is worth it!
TW: Who are your theatre idols?
MS: That’s tough, but Mark Rylance.
TW: Who are your favorite writers or playwrights?
MS: That’s even harder, but: Anton Chekhov, August Wilson, Timberlake Wertenbaker, and Odon von Horvath.
TW: What is An Iliad all about in one sentence?
MS: It is a retelling of the story of the Trojan War that reveals our unending addiction to war.
TW: Why does An Iliad matter now?
MS: Because we continue to war. But also, because a performance of An Iliad is an act of communal mourning and remembrance. It allows us to reflect and experience the sweetness that comes with a recognition that, together, we will find a way forward.
TW: What's one line from An Iliad which really speaks to you?
MS: “Gods never die. They change. They, they, they burrow inside us… They become us, they become our impulses.”
TW: One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers?
MS: Voting with our ticket and being brave in our choices of what we watch (that’s two, sorry!)