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The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Ross Dungan
August 23, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright.

What is your show about?
Eric Argyle, a man who has barely lived enough have regrets, is forced to re-witness every missed opportunity that led him to the point of his untimely demise.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I think the type of theater that excites me the most is the one that has an emphasis on storytelling and the inevitable twists and turns that lie within. With our productions, we're always very keen that when you strip away the fantastic performances of the cast and the excellent productions values of the show that still at it's heart there is a central story that still engages with people and hooks them from that very first moment. Our productions in general are very much built this way and we'll only ever put something on stage if it can still work with just as a story being told by one person on a bare stage. That being said, having professional actors and essential props is definitely a bonus.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that...?
a sign language performer literally refused to sign along with because of how quickly everyone was talking. And because of the many, many words in the play.

Is there a particular moment in this show that you really love or look forward to? Without giving away surprises, what happens in that moment and why does it jazz you?
The particular moment I look forward to the most actually changes every time. There's the obvious relief when an audience laughs for the first time, but from show to show the things I spot and take away always change. I've seen it so many times but there's still some occasions I'll notice an actor doing something in the background that I'll have simply never seen before. Or else someone will give a slight, almost imperceptible tweak to a line that makes it sound completely fresh to me. The only consistent thing I guess I have is when it gets to the home straight of the play and I continuously marvel at how well the cast are still able to earnestly communicate the last few moments of the play despite the hundreds of times they've already performed it.

Which famous person would you most like to get a fan letter from: Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith, Ang Lee, Audra McDonald?
Jimmy McMillan. The gentleman who ran the 'Rent is Too High Campaign', I saw him campaigning whilst blasting out some fresh beats from his car in Union Square when I was in working New York for a summer about 5 years ago. And by fan letter I of course mean a rent-related, personalized rap jingle.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Use nine million to build the first ever dedicated New Writing Theatre in Ireland. And the other million to send Jimmy McMillan to congress.