nytheatre.com q&a preview by Ned Averill-Snell
October 2, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Do you consider yourself a writer who also performs, an actor who also writes, or something else?
I've been an actor for 35 years, and in that time I've written three plays. So I'd say I'm an actor. After I wrote my first play a dozen years ago, I thought to myself, "Okay, now I'm a playwright--so what shall I write next?" But I did not write another play for a decade. I didn't write any of my plays voluntarily; they popped into my head and demanded to be heard. So I don't think of myself as a playwright, and I don't try to be one. One day another play will pop up -- or it won't. I'm okay with that.
What does solo performance do that can't be accomplished in a multi-actor play?
In a solo show, the audience is the performer's only partner. Watching a multi-actor play, the audience knows intuitively that its relationship with the performers will never be as intimate as their relationship with each other. In a solo play, the relationship between performer and audience is exclusive, close, and co-dependent. The audience feels its own importance, and that heightens the exchange.
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
It's about 70 minutes. But seriously... It's about making lemonade, about the ways life can turn out beautifully when you DON'T get what you want, when the Universe decides for you what's best, and gets it right. It's also about love...
For Election season: which American political figure do you think would like your show best, and why: Barack Obama, Ann Romney, Paul Ryan, or Hilary Clinton?
Hilary. Hilary's presidential aspirations did not pan out (yet), and her marriage has perhaps not been all that she might have hoped for. And yet, look at who she is and all she has done... Her life went exactly the way it was supposed to. I don't think the three men have much understanding of the beauty in failure. None of them have experienced it much.
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would set up sponsorships for actors, funds that would pay actor salaries at small professional theaters whose biggest challenge is finding funds to pay actors. My sponsorships would come with strings attached: The actor supported must be local. Too many regional theaters overlook local talent in favor of any actor with a 212 on his number. When theaters struggle to survive financially, it's just silly to job-in NY actors when local talent may be just as good (once one abandons one's prejudices) and often come far cheaper. The AD may think it raises his/her theater's stature to job-in, but the audience doesn't care -- the practice does nothing for ticket sales. Added expense, no added revenue.