nytheatre.com q&a preview by Adam Scott Mazer
August 27, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Playwright and Fight Director.
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I'm not sure there was ever a "Eureka!" moment for me. I've sort of always been doing theater - my first role was as an elephant in kindergarten, and by the time I got to high school, it became my main creative and extracurricular outlet. I expanded my focus from acting in college - did some directing, fight choreography, producing, you name it. I guess sometime in college it gradually dawned on me that I'd really like to continue doing the things I enjoy most, creating art in particular. I'm especially enamored of the way theater forces you to work: intimately with other artists to craft an immediate, real, and unfiltered experience. There's no post-production in theater, and I guess I like the mess.
Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
This is a tricky one - I do all three of these things, so my heart is torn! I think the cop-out answer (and probably the real answer) is that it entirely depends on the production. But that's no fun. So in terms of "conventional" productions - playwright writes a play, then the director directs actors to tell the story - I think it's somewhere along the playwright-actor axis (sorry, Will!). Think about it - no amount of good acting or direction is going to make a terribly-written play into something good, but at the same time, nothing will sink a well-written play quicker than bad actors. Even with a bad director, good actors with a good script can make good theater. And the real pressure, ultimately, is on the actors - they're the ones that have to execute the vision, to embody the world and contain the story within themselves. So maybe ultimately, it is a little further toward the actors than the playwright.
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
At its base level, MOTHERBOARD is, I hope, a fresh take on one of our most potent modern myths - the "Robot Apocalypse," the end of the world at the hands of our creations. Instead of the classic “lone human in robot dystopia,” though, the play follows the lone robot in the human dystopia. Thematically, though, MOTHERBOARD is very much about today: specifically, the way technology impacts us all on a very visceral, personal level, a constant promise of transcendent human connection tempered with the pain of bodiless isolation. Of course, it’s also a show about a badass robot kicking some ass. Aside from having a balls-to-the-wall awesome time, though, I hope the audience takes away a greater level of both affection for and skepticism of the Machine, and perhaps a thought or two about what it means to be a human in a Machine’s world.
Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Gotta go with Edison. It'd be a little over Snooki's head. Springsteen could get into it, but Edison would probably dig seeing a hypothetical endpoint of the world he very much helped to create. Though maybe not this particular endpoint...
Who are your heroes?
Grant Morrison. Check out his interview at http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/grant-morrison-psychedelic-superhero-20110822 for more. That probably makes me a weird guy, huh?