This Is Our Youth
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Forrest Weber
March 27, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
SEX, DRUGS, ROCK AND ROLL, and ... COLLECTIBLE TOASTERS??? The characters in THIS IS OUR YOUTH paint an all-embracing portrait of America’s youth while simultaneously firing a warning shot toward the parental population as they make bad decisions (despite good intentions) with $15,000 in freshly stolen funds.
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, home of the Convergent Theatre Co. In fact, so were the companies founders, most of it's actors, the THIS IS OUR YOUTH producers, and it's director. We were all instilled with a love for quality theatre in high school. The founders of the company were five young adults from San Antonio who went off to study at the nation's top acting conservatories and then re-"converge" on their hometown to produce amazing art together. Now, Convergent Theatre Co. is going to be the resident company in a brand new $203 million complex on the Riverwalk in San Antonio: The Tobin Center, opening in 2014. We couldn't wait until then, so we had San Antonio's finest converge in NYC for our third Off-Broadway play!
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that stars its very own producers! A collaborative effort between grads from Juilliard, Rutgers, SUNY Purchase, and Boston University yielded an incredibly high quality production produced by a couple of 23 year-olds! I moved to this city from Boston right after graduation to do one thing: PRODUCE AN OFF-BROADWAY play. At the time, I had no idea how to do such a thing. I learned, collaborated, adapted, and never gave up! We're the only show that was funded by people living 3,000 miles away! Native San Antonians in Texas believe in us so much, they provided this production with MORE THAN DOUBLE ITS GOAL, on our indiegogo fundraising campaign. We're also probably the only show that has cocaine on the poster...
How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
My Co-star and fellow producer, Justin Broido and I met in the 6th grade! We acted together on stage for the first time when we were 12 years old as "Buddy Layman" and "C.C. Showers" in THE DIVINERS. It feels surreal to be working together 11 YEARS LATER IN AN OFF-BROADWAY SHOW! Dreams come true, all you have to do is go get them! Jessica Griffin attended Rutgers at the Mason Gross School with Justin, and he introduced me to her when we were brainstorming ideas for this project. Her drive, talent, determination, and spirit fit in perfectly with our crazy plan, and the rest was history. Jack Walker-Pearson, our director, has been a mentor of ours for years.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Whoever wrote that question is brilliant. They have CLEARLY seen the show, and were trying to ask a trick question! IT'S SEXY, SMART AND SURPRISING. It is not smooth, however. Buckle up. Lets go! :)
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Of course it can! And it does! This show is beautiful BECAUSE IT HOLDS US ALL ACCOUNTABLE. It's characters, words, messages, themes, and ideologies have influenced me tremendously. This brilliant work of art will have people questioning their own ideals in the best way. It demands answers! The relationship between the author and the actors is beautiful. The relationship between the actors and the audience is palpable. As Billy Shakes put it: Theatre is "To hold, as 't Were, a mirror up to nature"