Ahoy, Abel Brown!
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Lisha Brown
October 14, 2012
What is your job on this show?
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I love working on new plays - which is why we started Distilled Theatre Company. It's such an exhilarating process to be able to start with a fresh script that's never been performed. There's so much to find, so much to debate and discover about these new characters and stories and circumstances. It's a collaborative process where everyone helps to polish the characters and dialogue and bring interactions to life that were only previously in someone's head. It's alway fascinating to me to see all the different nuances and depth an actor can bring to a character - how was it possible the playwright knew in advance how these characters would develop? When you're working directly with the playwright, you can ask questions and see things in the script together that might have been hidden on the page. I believe this allows the play to become the best it can be in performance.
Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this fall that...?
Will melt your face off. Well, maybe not yours... but, spoilers! Ahoy, Abel Brown! is the only play this fall that is actually centered around a slight ecological change - an invasive fish species (that is actually a real problem!) that completely turns the lives of the characters upside down. While the relationships in the play become strained because of certain actions, etc, it's all traced back to the fact that one time in real life there was a flood and some Asian Carp escaped into the Mississippi River and now all of the Great Lakes are doomed if the fish makes it into the waters. It really makes you realize how fragile and connected our world is and that we must always think about the bigger picture.
Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
The goal is to have the audience talking into the wee hours of the night - always!! That's what I love about theatre - being able to feel it completely while it's happening and break it down afterwards. With this play, everyone is going to see something different. There's so much excitement, tension and action - hopefully our audiences will be surprised and excited to talk about the Crew of the Rubicon for hours.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
I would say surprising and smart. There's a twist that makes the first seeing of the play very exciting (come back twice so you can see how it all plays out after you know the twist!) It's also smart just how well the characters are developed and how real the relationships are.
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Oh boy do I wish I had even 1 million dollars!! If I had 10mil I would definitely buy a theatre space. Make it versatile and accessible. I would create programs that would support new work and allow more people to get their plays out there. I would want to cultivate and develop more artists to be more daring with their theatrical choices - from all sides, playwrights, actors, designers, etc. Giving them a theatre home to work in takes off a lot of pressures and opens up creativity.