Everybody Lied to Me
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Jason Thomas Mayfield
October 2, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
Ever since I was little I wanted to be a performer. When I was a kid I wanted to be Bruce Willis. Then I wanted to be a professional ice skater because of the winter olympics, so I skated around the kitchen in my socks. I had a band for a while. Wrote some music. Played some shows. Did some theatre in high school. Did some in college. Danced for a modern dance company. Worked with a magician. Did some more theatre. But no one wanted to pay me all that much. Then I started telling jokes. And I loved it. But that's kinda what this show is about.
What does solo performance do that can't be accomplished in a multi-actor play?
There's an intimacy with a solo show that a multi-actor play can never reach. There's something just innately powerful about someone standing on stage, and talking directly to an audience, and sharing their story. There's a human element there that's just more tangible.
Has this show been presented in other cities before New York? Was there a place where the response to this piece surprised you, and why?
At this point #ELtM has played in 5 different states, NY being the 6th. And the response has been so much more than I ever expected. So many people have come up to me after a show and shared how much these stories rang true to them, and how much they relate. One guy wrote me a long email saying basically, "Dude, you just told my life story up there." I'm also in contact with a lot of people who've come to the show through facebook and twitter. It's amazing how sites like that have changed the way we can interact. So if you see the show. And Like the show. Let me know. Or, even if you don't, let me know. We'll talk about it.
Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
I have a picture hanging in my room. It's an old black and white of Walt Disney leaning over a drawing table, and he's drawing Mickey Mouse. And there's this caption that Walt said one time, it says, "I hope we don't lose sight of one thing. It was all started by a mouse." It reminds me that the greatest things never started great. They start small and grow. I know that doesn't exactly answer the question. But yes, I think Mickey Mouse would like my show. What?
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Yes-ish. I think it has the greatest chance to. There's something about a live performance that adds a level of reality to the weight of it's impact. We can watch tv or movies, and there's always this wall that exists where the screen is, that creates that little bit of distance between audience and the work. But with live theatre you can reach through that wall in a way you can't where a screen exists. And beyond that I think simply just story-telling can reach even further. When one person can simply, easily, and uninhibitedly, relate to another, that's where real change can take root. Not trying to get religious, but look at Jesus. Look at how influential he was just as a simple story teller. He was called teacher, preacher, but what he was, was a story-teller. And without the aid of facebook, twitter, youtube, or a marketing team, he was responsible for the greatest global change... granted we've gone and perverted a lot of his original ideas.. but that's a whole nother story. Yes theatre can. I hope it can. I need to believe it can.