Emily Dinova found herself in an abusive relationship—one that went on for years.
“I was kind of lost,” says Dinova. “I ignored my own issues at first, then eventually took a leap towards recovery and hope. I adopted the mentality of turning myself from a victim into a survivor.”
The catharsis of writing certainly aided in that process. Out of her experiences, Dinova wrote the play Capture after moving to London, while studying for her Masters.
“Initially I didn’t have much faith in the play,” says Dinova. “I didn’t think it was anything anyone would want to see. It was pretty dark. But soon I realized, ‘Wow, this is something.'”
The play won the the 2015 Fresher Writing Prize for Best Script in the U.K., and is currently being staged as part of the Venus/Adonis Festival at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 W. 26th St., Manhattan). Performances are January 21 & 22 at 6:15 and January 24 at 8:30 p.m.
Dinova lives in Hoboken, as does the play’s director, Gregory Cioffi.
“After reading the play, I knew I wanted to direct it,” says Cioffi. It’s heavily stream-of-consciousness, but I knew there was so much potential if it was done right.”
In order to effectively channel the power of Dinova’s material from beginning to end, Cioffi opted for the Suzuki Method, an avant-garde approach which relies heavily on the physical interpretation of psychological realism.
“If you read the play,” says Cioffi, “it’s hard-hitting, raw, animalistic, volatile—so [the Suzuki Method] only made sense.”
Actress Hank Morris, herself a familiar face among the Hoboken arts scene, plays the role of the protagonist looking back in mature reflection on the situation, trying to purge herself of the emotional weight she has carried for so long.
“It’s a cool way to tell this story,” says Morris. “It breaks up some of the heaviness. Whether the memories are sharp, vivid or murky, they’re extremely emotional.”
For Dinova, it’s obviously a sensitive production. “At this point I’ve pretty much removed myself from the project,” she says,”because I trust the people, and the collaboration. Hank [Morris] blew us away—she was perfectly cast. I feel connected to Hank. There’s a kindred spirit there that’s super comfortable.”
“Meanwhile Greg [Cioffi] is a brilliant director,” says Dinova. “He coaches the actors and pushes them—it’s really tightening up as the performance grows near.”
“All our actors are really strong,” says Cioffi. “They’re intelligent, and give their all. They’re all going places, so we’re really lucky to work with them now while we can.”
With the performances this week, Dinova is anxious to see how the audience reacts. But above all, she’s content to have tackled such a weighty topic as domestic violence from such a personal point of view.
“I’m happy to have gotten it out, and gotten some beautiful responses,” says Dinova. “I knew I had to do it, rather than carry this around with me forever.”
“Yes, it was a difficult process,” she adds. “But I knew the alternative was shit.”