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A Crucible

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Brian Bauman
January 2, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright, Producer, Founder of Perfect Disgrace Theater.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I came to study poetry in New York in the mid-90's with little to no experience of theater. I had no reference point to it - I had maybe seen half a dozen plays by the time I was eighteen, and most of them were touring productions of big broadway spectacles that felt so foreign to me. I didn't respond to it at all. So, coming to NY during that time and having my mind blown by plays like VENUS, MY HEAD WAS A SLEDGEHAMMER, Target Margin's production of SOUTH - it was out of this world. At the time, I was also going out and seeing renegade/queer stuff at the Jackie 60 party at MOTHER, and there was a certain kind of sloppy, unprofessionalized burlesque at the Foxy party at the old COCK on 12th street... These experiences really shaped my artistic sensibility - the anarchic freedom of performance, the unmediated aspects of it - how wild and exuberant it can be! I got hooked.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I started Perfect Disgrace Theater in 2006 as a way to self-produce my work. I was living in Boulder, Colorado at the time, and had access to this really cool theater space that used to be a milk pasteurization plant, appropriately called the Dairy Center for the Arts. The first show I did there was a vicious piece about The Miss Universe Pageant, Depleted Uranium and Don't Ask/Don't Tell called PORRIDGE. I cast Mike Jones in one of the roles which lead to a lot of press coverage. He was the male escort who outed the former head of the National Evangelical Association,Ted Haggard... Since that show, Perfect Disgrace Theater has produced work in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. The last NYC show was called ATTA BOY and was performed at The Wild Project, and again at HERE Arts Center, in 2011.

In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
A CRUCIBLE is a meta-play about the problems and power of performance. It combines aspects of classical, modern and post-modern theater to create a matrix of representation to illuminate some of the most pressing challenges and most exciting aspects of the artform today. I think audiences will be exhilarated and provoked by the show. It is by far the most ambitious project I've ever produced.

Who are your heroes?
Here are just a few - but my list of s/heroes and influences is very long. Valerie Solanas. Matthew Maguire & Susan Mosakowski. Derek Jarman. Sigrid Gilmer. Michelle Tea. Jack Spicer. Harry Kondoleon. Jean Genet. Luis Alfaro. Everett Quinton & Charles Ludlam. Reza Abdoh and the entirety of DAR A LUZ. Sibyl O'Malley. Eileen Myles. Big Art Group. Jane Pickett. Kevin Killian & Dodie Bellamy. Mary Gaitskill.