Chris Sax: Theatre is Music to His Ears

Interview by Jen Bush

Chris Sax is is the producer and director of the compelling new work, At Least He Didn’t Die With Antlers On His Head.  Instead of dipping his toe in the waterfall where he grew up, he dipped it into the well of the arts.  After a turn in the music industry, he returned to where his passion was strongest, theatre.  “Well let me grab my paint brush, easel and mirror! I grew up just outside of Niagara falls, New York in a small town (Wilson, NY). I started acting in my drama class and got cast as a leads in a couple high school musicals and soon I had the bug. I always like a good story. I learned how to play guitar and sing so when I was 18 I moved to Nashville, Tenn like every Taylor Swift wanna be. After working in the music industry I returned to my first love theater.  I went to a drama program and studied at Rose Bruford College in Kent and the rest is history.”

Mr. Sax was inspired by the greatest luminaries of the theatrical world.  He worked hard to learn new skills and hone his craft because it was important for him to present new works to the world.  “I would say that the past great artists in theater, such as Chekhov, Shakespeare, and Ibsen inspire me. Nowadays the theater is more essential than ever and putting up work is not easy but soul satisfying. Expensive room and theater rates, closed offices because of Covid and still a positive test that can throw an ax in your creative schedule. I started producing/directing more out of necessity more than pure desire. Plays need to get mounted and if you don’t do it nobody will. I also wanted to learn and there is no better way to learn then by just doing it! As a producer on an off-off Broadway show of a budget under $10,000 you’re pretty much doing everything and there is so much value in that, you see all the behind the scene things that no one ever thinks of like insurance, budget, contracts show rights. It’s like putting a giant puzzle together and you’re responsible for bringing all the pieces together. Hiring the right director and bringing in the right actor is also essential. I think it just makes you a better artist because when you don’t get a director proposal acceptance or you don’t book an audition then you know it’s not you! You just weren’t the right piece of the puzzle.”

“Directing is more of leading the actor in a direction you want but letting them follow their instinct so they make the strongest choice. Great directors take a lot of notes and always give the actor the feedback they need to have an excellent show. You have to always stay on them because you care. There is a level of focus you need to do this work on a high level. The ability to tune out the rest of the world and hone in brings the relaxation and intensity to your art. As a producer I don’t really give notes overstepping the boundary. I’ll pull the director to the side and tell them what is needed but it’s the director’s job to coach the actors.”

Mr. Sax is hoping his audiences will like the show, relate to the content and be impacted by the work that is relatable to a broad base of individuals.  “I hope for a level of professionalism and show enjoyment. If you are not enjoying the show or go home and critically think about what you saw and how it will help you as an individual with your life. A great piece of theater works on me for days if not years. “Art is a lie that tells the truth” (Pablo Piscasso) and it allows us to see our life clearer and know we are not alone in the human struggle. Antlers deals with a young man with a bad family name who fights to rewrite his family history which is a universal story. arson and Huston deal with life on a deep level of friendship that tackles every subject under the sun, sexuality, fame, religion, health, wealth. There’s A little something for everybody.”

Though covid is still present, the performing arts have returned albeit with added challenges.  “Even still covid can cause problems. We had a positive test during rehearsals, and I thought to myself I’m still having to deal with this.  I think a lot of people have anxiety about it and rightfully depending on how it has affected you and your family. I was lucky I only got it once and my immediate family was unscathed. I’m thankful but other people were sadly not so lucky.” 

People are craving normalcy especially in an industry whose job it is to suspend disbelief.  Post-covid, Mr. Sax feels the way many artists feel, the show must go on.  It might look and feel different but it will go on.  “I think any way we can get back to normal and how we can make people want to see a show. If that means mask nights vs non mask nights then I’m open to it. Theater in the purest form makes uncomfortable people comfortable, and comfortable people very uncomfortable with always an element of danger is needed in your work. The theater has always been a place of tension and enjoyment looking at classic playwrights like Brecht, Shakespeare, Ibsen etc.”

When this show closes, this multi-talented artist will take some much-needed time to relax a bit.  After that he will use his artistic gifts to put more wonderful works out into the world either on stage or behind the scenes.  “I’m currently closing a show I perform in. I’m acting in Troilus and Cressida At Staten Island Shakespeare at Fort Wadsworth playing Ajax which is a great character and an amazing play which closes this weekend. I’m probably going to take a little time away. I’ve produced 3 plays in 4 months and acted in a Shakespeare play so some time to rest is definitely needed. After that look at possibly moving to better off-Broadway venues. I already had playwrights contact me through my last show about producing their play which interested parties can email me at I also would like to do some acting in the fall. I’m a classical trained actor at heart and my favorite art form but I’m fully qualified to perform other functions. I have some really interesting contacts in Los Angeles. They may allow me to create theater bicoastal whatever is ahead of me. I’m ready to tackle it full steam ahead.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s