Ahoy, Abel Brown!
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Tyler Grimes
October 12, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1990. I lived in Yorktown Heights, New York before moving to Coral Springs, Florida in the 7th grade. I went to Pope John Paul II High School where I got into the theatre world after losing a bet to my cousin. I found I loved theatre and decided to go to New York University to study Educational Theatre. I graduated this past May.
What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
"Ahoy, Abel Brown!" was the first full length play I set out to write but it is my second to be produced. My full length horror anthology play "Transylvania Beach, Kentucky" was produced in April and is available for purchase on www.indietheatrenow.com thanks to the wonderful Martin Denton. My short play "Meat" was a finalist for the 2011 Heideman Award from the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky. "Meat" was recently performed in New York as part of EndTimes Productions "Vignettes for the Apocalypse" play festival where it won Best Script. Other short plays performed in New York and at NYU include: "eternalism," "Pockets and Thud vs. The Almighty Beyond," "The GraveRobbers," "Hazel Green and the Mystery at Grendel Lair," and coming soon "Four Witches." In the summers I work with the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts writing musicals with high school students in Florida and Ohio. With Lovewell I have helped write more than a dozen musicals including this past summer's "Portales, New Mexico." Most recently I was Eddie in Wombat Theatre's production of "Fool For Love."
How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
The co-artistic directors of Distilled Theatre Company (the new theatre company putting this show up) were older classmates of mine at NYU. I had the privilege of acting alongside Lisha Brown and Liz Regan when I was a freshman and I really admired their work ethic. When they want to do something they do it, there's no backing down. I like that competitive spirit. It's great working with people that went through the same program as I did in school. There's a common vocabulary and understanding in the rehearsal room and we think of solutions in similar ways. They are a great bunch. Also, one of the actors in the show, Cody Boccia, went to high school with me in Florida and we has workshopped this play before. He's incredibly talented and I get a huge kick out of how long we've known each other and that we still get to work together after 8 years of knowing each other. I didn't know the other actors in "Ahoy, Abel Brown!" before starting this production but I have constantly been impressed with the work they have done for this script. They have all had a wonderful command of the language and a terrific sense of the world of the play.
Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
I'd sure hope The Boss would like this show the best of that bunch. He's a constant inspiration for me when I write, I think he's one of the finest story tellers of our time. I do think Thomas Edison would like "Ahoy, Abel Brown!" and I even think Snooki would. I like to think that my plays have something enjoyable for people who don't normally see theatre. Ultimately I'm just trying to tell good stories and I think people from Springsteen to Snooki are equally capable of liking a good story.
Who are your heroes?
I think I have a different hero for every situation that can come up in life, especially thinking of heroes as just people we strive to emulate or whose work we admire. When it comes to playwrights I really love Edward Albee, Caryl Churchill, and Rajiv Joseph. Recently I like the work that The TEAM has done in New York. Jerzy Grotowski and Antonin Artaud are heroes to me and if I can be just a fraction of the artist either of them were I'll be set. Stephen King is my favorite story teller of all time. Amy Poehler's character on "Parks & Recreation" is a legitimate hero of mine. Leslie Knope sometimes feels like the last beacon of light in the tunnel of cynicism that exists on television and in popular culture. She's a tireless worker who inspires the best in others even when they are reluctant. I try to put the love into writing that the character puts into everything she does on "Parks & Recreation."