Mary Zimmerman revisits a personal and
professional triumph, 29 years after its debut
Mary Zimmerman has never been one to take the easy way. Although she’s directed such straightforward fare as The Music Man, she is best known for playing outside the box, diving deep into classic texts—Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Homer’s Odyssey—to create pieces driven as much by engaging visuals and dynamic movement as they are the spoken word. The long-time Manilow Resident Director of Goodman Theatre, Zimmerman returns this season to one her earliest hits with the company: The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. As she headed in rehearsals just days into the new year, she stopped to talk a bit about a show she holds dear.
THOMAS CONNORS: Was Notebooks the first show you created that was staged at the Goodman?
TC: The success of the Goodman production really propelled your career, didn’t it?
TC: You staged Notebooks at a number of theaters after its Goodman debut, from Seattle Rep to Second Stage in New York. Are you doing any special prep as you get ready to tackle it again?
TC: You haven’t staged Notebooks since 2002. Are you revising the show at all for this latest production?
TC: A whole new generation has come of age since this show debuted, a cohort accustomed to the visual velocity and sound bite brevity of social media. Does this give you pause as you prepare to remount this show?
TC: You have drawn from richly varied sources to create your work. What drew you to Leonardo?
TC: Looking back these 29 years, what does The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci say about who you were as an artist at that time?