We had the good fortune of connecting with Ami Dayan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ami, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Before The Interview Game took over my life, my career has been in the theatre. On my first day of acting school, a great teacher said: “If you can do anything else (other than theatre)… do it!” It drove home the unreasonable risk of pursuing a life in the arts, but also provided a way to make peace with such a path. If one genuinely feels they must do something, the risks associated are worth taking. As I see it Risk = Chance (for enhanced reward) , and vise versa. If you don’t risk rejection by asking a love interest one out, you are likely not to go out with them… Of course if you do ask them out — you might have to endure the pain of rejection. So it goes back to — What is important to you? The more important someone or something is, the more risk I’d be willing to consider in order to achieve it. When the concept of The Interview Game came to me — to Deepen Connections, and Capture Memories for Life! with curated two-way video chat interviews between family members, valued friends, co workers, cohorts, loved ones, etc — I thought: ‘THIS MUST BE IN THE WORLD’. It felt critical and well worth taking risks for in order to achieve. Interconnectivity has always been essential in my life and my work, particularly intergenerational, intercultural, interracial, and international interconnectivity. It is hard for me to imagine a healthy world without it, so I am happy risking time and resources to foster communication, recognition, and shared appreciation among people of all stripes of life. Of course, h e a l t h related risks are different, and I find myself wearing a mask everywhere I go, because the possibility of someone suffering of Covid19 because of a risk I took, is not worth any reward that unmasking might offer.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started out as an actor, studying and working professionally in the USA, Europe, and Israel; but I was quick to expand to Translating then to Directing, and ultimately to producing. The driving force was always to tell a story that needed to be told, and it was a privilege to gain knowledge and experience in the various roles necessary to bring a story to the stage. Most actors feel their success is in the hands agents, casting directors, directors and producers. I was encouraged do ‘just do it’, witch enabled me to move to America, settle in Boulder Colorado, and produce/direct/act in tens of plays, travel with them, license some, and bring 6 productions to Off Broadway NYC. It has also improved my chops as an artist to continually be learning more about other aspects of the art of theatre. If you ask me, any actor should experience directing and vis versa, just to see what life on the other side of the collaboration is like… This attitude of ‘just do it’ is also at the heart of my success at launching a new business — The Interview Game — which is also all about stories, but not pre-scripted stories for the stage, but rather personal stories that are shared by those using our product. We essentially ‘curate’ the story by sequencing questions and prompts to the players who share their lives, thoughts, experiences and beliefs with each other. The important lessons I’ve learned on route are — learn from all, learn most from the best, don’t let fear make your decisions, be the best partner/collaborator you possibly can for those you work with, so that they in turn can do the same to you, and try to do what you love so you can love what you do. I’d like the world to know that Coronavirus may be contagious, but so is love! And The Interview Game It is a fun, safe, interactive way to share life stories and learn about each other while creating lasting memories, fostering connections, and facilitating a healthy transmission of culture.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In normal times my best friend would want to see lots of theatre and I would take he to anything the amazing Buntport Theatre stages, then to Curious Theatre Company, and in Boulder to the Catamount shows, and anything the incredible actress Tamara Meneghini might be in. I’d make sure we catch a Clay Rose and the Gasoline lollipops live concert, a cinematic gem at the Dairy Center Boedecker theatre, and some modern dance from 3rd Law Danc/theatre. We’d grab food at AMU, Sushi AOI, or The Kitchen, or Tandoori Grill, and be have some beer at Southern Sun. I’d be sure to include a visit to my favorite shop — The Gypsy Jewel — on Pearl Street in Boulder, where every shawl and textile, has been personally selected by the owner (Maruta Kalnins), directly from the artists who created the work, all the way from a dusty old shop in Kathmandu, Jaipur India, or an ancient street in Riga, Latvia. Of course we would frequent the mountains, and visit Rocky Mountain National park, the lovely Boulder bike paths, and Gross reservoir, and if at all possible I’d ensure this visit took place during the outstanding world renown Jaipur Literature Festival (in Boulder) where minds and hearts are expanded and uplifted.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe my success to so many. Starting with the family, that allowed me independence and instilled confidence and self-worth from infancy. Later, a list or teachers were there to support my growth and expand horizons (Mrs. Joyce Lewin from St. Louis is a standout). I served four years in the Israeli Defense Force on an elite rescue unit, where my commanding officers and team mates trusted me with their lives (which was entirely reciprocal). When I began pursuing a career I had mentors in NYC (Herbert Berghof, William Hickey), Paris (Richard Armstrong, Ryszard Cieslak) and Tel Aviv (Dori Parnes, Gary Bilu) who continually challenged me, provided insight and expanded my range. The Interview Game was developed with my wife, Michal Lebowitsch Dayan, to whom I would dedicate any personal achievement, and was taken to new heights by Tamir Karta, Jesse Weaver, and Keith Gruen. The Interview Game is dedicated to the loving memory of Arthur B Cornfeld, who’s friendship and generosity made it possible.
Will Hartman & Omri Dayan