Theater pathfinder and MacArthur “genius” Richard Foreman has played many roles over the past five decades, diligently writing, directing, and designing his numerous plays, operas, films, and videos. This year his Ontological-Hysteric Theater, a touchstone for several generations of artists, celebrates its forty-fifth anniversary.

Foreman was born in 1937 in New York City. He received a BA from Brown University and an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. In 1993, Brown presented him with an honorary doctorate. Foreman’s latest work, the chamber play Old Fashioned Prostitutes (A True Romance), marks his return to theater after a brief retirement during which he focused on filmmaking. The play continues his interest in building an abstract and minimal “web of language” and, characteristically, features a small cast (Alenka Kraigher, Stephanie Hayes, Nicolas Norena, Rocco Sisto, and David Skeist). The work begins preview performances at the Public Theater in New York on April 30 and will run through June 2, 2013.

Interview with Richard Foreman.

— As told to Lauren O’Neill-Butler