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KRiEp - a Grusical in Seven Deadly Scenes

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Sam Belich
July 21, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Composer, Book & Lyrics, Director.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
DAY ONE - I was in 3rd grade and I got to play a Pilgrim in a Thanksgiving Day Pageant. I never saw life again with the same eyes. DAY TWO - My dad was a truck driver, my mom was a telephone operator, and I had 3 younger brothers. One day pa brought home a 3/4 size violin that someone had given him as repayment on a loan. I got free lessons at school when I was in 4th grade. I never heard sound again with the same ears. DAY THREE -My mom took me to see Disney's FANTASIA when I was 12 years old. She was so exhausted she fell asleep and I sat through it twice: I said I can do that! And spent the next 48 years of my life sharing my passion for music, drama and dance anybody who would listen.

Why did you want to be part of FringeNYC?
Having been a part of the professional "classical" scene in NYC for 16 years freelancing as a violinist/violist and a singer in NYC and another 10 years in Milwaukee, WI. I was fortunate to have performed with many "established" ensembles. Having been back NYC for the past 11 years I was amazed at the art being created in "off the beaten path" venues. Composing had always been on the "back burner", so to speak, as performing and teaching has been the primary source of employment, raising a family, making a living. However, the kids grew up, the dogs dies and suddenly over the last decade life began to change. Having attended shows at FRINGE during these years, I was again bitten by the "I can do that" bug and set out to do just that.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
I am hoping that the audiences will want to rush out and buy the original soundtrack recording of KRiEp! So they can hum/sing along at the next performance, which they wouldn't miss... even if there life depended on it! If you do not leave the theatre whistling the KRiEp tune I'd be disappointed. Some will love it. Others will hate it! No one will be immune to its message. And that is that KRiEp is ultimately about the "creep" in all of us. After that final E-flat minor chord, every person in that audience will be looking at each other from an entirely different perspective. As you exit the theatre you will be wondering, "See that guy, over there, "I wonder... what's in his box?" And worst case scenario, you'll be worried that that guy, over there, may have discovered what's in you box! Everyone complains about Hollywood! I mean do we really need another "SCREAM PART 22"? Here comes another "FINAL DESTINATION"... again, with an entirely new cast of beautiful teens to do in. Why won't JASON stay dead? Hollywood produces what we are willing to pay to see! Then there is the never-ending TV fascination with CSI, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, etc., etc., etc. AND yes, some folks will be troubled by KRiEp. It goes places some of us would never want to go. "Curiosity killed the cat", so my mother always says and so did her mother and hers before. I think it is something deeper than "curiosity". Something primal in us. Something hidden, unseen and yet very palpable. Do you open your box or do you keep it shut? KRiEp doesn't answer the question. It merely offers you the opportunity to explore the possibilities. FINAL ANSWER: I believe audience members will talk about KRiEp for the rest of their lives.

Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
Harpo - the sensitive guy with the crazy hair, the incredible touch (fingers) and an ear for nuance in music that only a harpist can possess. And let's face it, if you can't use language to get the world's attention you'll find a million different ways to express yourself through sound. I believe it was Yip Harburg, he wrote "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", who said, "Words make you think thoughts. Music makes you feel a feeling. But a song makes you feel a thought." Harpo magically put words to his music and I feel his thoughts.

Can theatre bring about societal change? Why or why not?
No, I do not think theatre can bring about "societal" change. It can be a powerful influence. But that influence is solely on the "individual". Can individuals have an effect on their societies? If they possess the power... without a doubt. Regrettalby for both good and evil. Interestingly enough I can only think of the negative connections; Hitler/Wagner or Stalin/Shostakovich, and the chilling end results of these men on their societies and the world. I want to cite Chekov, Strindberg, Brecht, O'Neill, Shaw, Miller, or even Mamet. But I really believe their effect is less on society then on the folks who populate the "theatre/cultural" world. This more "elitest" society tends to be separate from the society as a whole. Music certainly seems to have a more powerful pull than actual dramatic theatre to affecting the way we talk, dress, and "fit in". And today FILM seems to be taking a more dominant role, albeit more reflexive and passive. I used to enjoy going to the movies. At least there was the possibility of interaction among audience members (this is not a comment on the tragedy in Colorado - which defies rational thought). Nowadays, with everyone's head buried in their cell phones, which get turned off (if you are a lucky) a movie theatre, before the film starts, is almost as quiet as a tomb. I want to believe there is more tolerance and diversity in the world. However, on this point I am not as optimistic.