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Entries in Writing (5)

Monday
Apr292013

Jill Campbell: Chemistry of Love Interview

Jill Campbell began her career at The Public Theater during Joseph Papp’s reign. She spent three formative years in the UK, where her first play Forgive Me Father was produced at the London Fringe and at the Dublin Fringe Festival. 

Her latest play, Chemistry of Love plays at La MaMa (74A East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue & the Bowery) in New York City's East Village from May 2-19. Chemistry of Love strips bare the process of making art, revealing the toll it takes on one’s self and peers. Click here for tickets and follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and http://chemistryoflove.net!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I’ve been involved in theater in some way my entire life. I initially wanted to become an actress. I studied acting when I was a kid at places like Usdan where Mark Blum and Austin Pendleton taught or guest lectured. In high school, there was this program that BOCES sponsored on Long Island. It was equivalent to the High School of Performing Arts in NYC. It was run by theatre gypsy Bert Michaels. Bert had appeared in the original West Side Story and Saturday Night Fever films. He was the real deal. He treated us like professionals and we worshipped him. He never candy coated the profession and he worked us hard. I went to my high school in the morning and in the afternoons I would study at BOCES. It instilled so much discipline within me. It taught me what it meant to work hard. I also took an acting class with Geraldine Page when I was 17. I had to audition for her and she accepted me. This rocked my world. I received my BFA, moved to NYC to pursue an acting career, had several bad experiences (the casting couch did exist) and one day decided I didn’t want to act, but I wanted to produce. I got a job for Straw-hat Productions and later at the Public Theatre. I had also always written from a young age. I have journals full of short stories and plays; I loved to write, but I was not confident enough to share my work. My grammar was atrocious. I had to teach myself good grammatical tools (I’m still learning). I took the odd writing class, but it wasn’t until I moved to the suburbs of New Jersey, that I wrote my first play, Supurbia. I was very depressed and missed NYC terribly. I couldn’t understand how I had ended up as a New Jersey housewife harboring contradictory dreams. I signed up for a playwriting class at Gotham’s Writers Workshop and that was it. I was hooked and felt that I finally found my niche in the land of theatre. People seemed to respond to my work. All my proceeding theatrical experiences fed into my writing. It felt very natural. I was obsessed with the work of Eric Bogosian, Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter and Christopher Durang.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That is such a tough question, because I just want to continue to work and write in whatever way possible, but I could start with the dream list of directors listed in this New York Times article: http://theater.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/theater/female-directors-more-prominent-in-new-york.html

3. What made you want to write Chemistry of Love? The play is about a mid-career artist, Lara, who has had some success, but never the acclaim her work deserves. When she is nominated for the $500,000 grant it forces her to dig deep within and analyze what success really means to her. We also follow Lara’s mentor, ex-boyfriend and best friend. Each has an unexpected reaction to her impending success. Can they deal? Was it easier to accept her as a struggling artist instead of a successful one? What will this do to their relationships? Are they really happy for her? They each seem to want a piece of the success she’s worked her ass for. But do they deserve it in some way? They have been there for her, supporting her emotionally, sexually, introducing her to the right people.

I am also a mid-career artist dealing with similar issues. I have at times neglected my loved ones for the sake of this obsession. Was it/is it worth it? Should I have remained a New Jersey housewife and dedicated my life to my kids? That’s art too. Why am I doing this? I love playwriting, but it’s a brutal profession, especially for someone like me who has not gone to grad school and who doesn’t always have the time to network the way one needs to in this profession. I used to think that all you had to do was write the play. That’s only the first step. I’ve had to take a hard look at why I am doing this and what success really means to me. What theatre means to the world. Why do we need art in our lives? These are all questions, the lead character in my play deals with while dealing with the reactions of the people whom she is closest to in respect to her $500,000 grant nomination and her impending success. The nomination alone has created buzz and now everyone seems to want a piece of her. It’s amazing how a little success changes everyone’s attitude towards you when you’re an artist. You leap in their minds from hobbyist to artist. These are all things I am exploring. Saying that, there’s a hell of a lot of humor in this play. I have been laughing my ass off in rehearsals.

(L-R): Dennis Parlato as Florant, Jenne Vath as Karen, Kim Merrill as Lara and Matt Baxter Luceno as Tyler in the World Premiere of Chemistry of Love. Photo credit: Russ Rowland4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope they continue to think about it long after they have left the theatre. I hope they flip it around in their minds, connecting the intricate dots. Laugh, smile, and cry. I hope they have more compassion towards anyone who devotes their life to art. The play is also an interesting study on contemporary conceptual art and how technology is infiltrating our work. It looks at three generations of artists. One in his sixties, one in her forties and one in his twenties plus there is the person who is not the artist. She’s the one "they do the work for."

5. Why did you want your play to be at La MaMa? What do they offer that another venue would not? I do feel one lands where they’re supposed to. Everything about La MaMa feels right to me. It’s not corporate. It’s still quirky. They remain true to Ellen Stewart’s dedication to the experimental artist. One feels very free and supported there. My play is not safe. There’s some stuff that will freak some people out, but La MaMa is willing to take risks in artists and their work. The director of my play George Ferencz gave me a DVD of Elizabeth Swados’ La MaMa Cantada, it took me months to get around to listening to it, but when I did, I realized why he wanted me to hear it. I am so in the right place, I just wish I got the chance to meet the welcoming, exacting, inspiring, ass pinching, bell ringing, green vetoing, power house who would welcome the audiences to the theatre each night by ringing a bell and saying, "Welcome to La MaMa Experimental Theatre, dedicated to the playwright."  "Never apologize, never be sorry!" Thank you Ellen!!!

6. What did you learn from working under Joseph Papp's reign at the Public Theater? The Public was my first professional theatre gig. Every waking moment I spent there was a learning experience. There are some moments in my life I have forgotten completely, but I remember times at the Public so clearly, from walking into first rehearsal for Taming of the Shrew with Morgan Freeman, Tracy Ullman and Helen Hunt; running lines with Morgan (joy). Learning how to make the perfect 50-cup pot of coffee. Mainly, I remember running the budget reports for each show and being shocked at how much was in the red. Nothing made money. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, but then discovered the importance of funders. Like La MaMa, they are dedicated to the art, the work - if it’s good, the money hopefully follows. If it’s not, at least they went for it!

7. You spent 3 years in London, how do you feel that time helped your playwriting to grow? The city of London was my version of grad school. My ex-husband was transferred there for 3 years and because of visa restrictions, I could not take on a job. This was around the same time that I had begun to write plays, so I decided to use every bit of my time taking classes, attending lectures and going to as much theatre as possible. I met playwright Bernard Kops’ who had been teaching playwriting from his apartment for twenty years. I learned everything from him. The Brits, I feel, are much more language oriented and more sub-textual than Americans. I learned to experiment with form and language. I learned how to thread subtext into my work under the surface of my words. I learned how to deal with exposition or to get rid of it entirely. I probably saw three shows a week for three years. I went to everything, everywhere from the West End to The Bush (Kane, Churchill, Kops, Pinter) and it influenced me immensely. When I returned to the States, no one got my work. They seemed to want very plot centric material. I think Chemistry of Love is a perfect balance of both. I do think you need plot, but it should not overwhelm character or interrupt the magic. It’s about the balance. Also, pub culture made it really easy to meet people in London. You would see a play and meet half the production in the pub next door afterwards. I met Max-Stafford Clark and John Caird that way and asked if I could send them my work. They both called me in for meetings. I was floored. There is a private bar backstage at the National for cast, crew and friends. It’s amazing. 

8. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a play? I love when you get to the part where you know the world so well, that the play starts writing itself. I go into this trance and later I look at it and I’m like, "when did I write this?" I also love infusing research into the work. I find that very inspiring. Also, of course the first time you hear actors read it is always a blast.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright? I’m smarter than I thought I was.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Don’t be lazy. This is a brutal art form. One will write a million drafts and sometimes you just want to be done and to have it read and to submit it, but if you have anything niggling in your mind about the work, don’t submit it. Take your time, do another rewrite, ask yourself the hard questions. Always go one draft further than you think you can.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? This is a freaking hard question that I’ve been thinking about a lot. Maybe to be able to predict the day the world will end, but if I could do that, no one would believe me anyway - they’d think I’m a freak and would try to commit me, so maybe it’s something simple, like eliminating global warming. That’s simple right?

More on Jill:

Jill's plays have been produced or workshopped in New York at La MaMa, Mabou Mines, New Georges, Cherry Lane, Mind the Gap and Easthampton Playhouse, and at The Side Project and Women’s Theatre Project in Chicago and Luna Stage in NJ. She has been a resident artist with Mabou Mines and is a current member of the PDU at The Actors Studio. Campbell is also a documentary producer who has worked on Dancing Across Borders directed by Anne Bass and Never Stand Still, filmed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She’s the Assistant Producer on the documentary Out of Print, narrated by Meryl Streep, which premieres at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. She is currently writing and producing Hamlet of Canfield Gardens about the life of her mentor, British playwright Bernard Kops.

Thursday
Feb072013

David Dean Bottrell: "David Dean Bottrell is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and the Meaning of Life!" Interview

I first interviewed David Dean Bottrell last year when he was starring in his one-man show David Dean Bottrell makes love. Now, David is back with a brand-new show David Dean Bottrell Is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and The Meaning of Life. Combining his prodigious body of work as an actor, writer and director, David has created an evening of outrageous, sometimes heart-breaking and always side-splitting true stories that provide a rare look into an entertainers quest for a middle class life in Hollywood. David Dean Bottrell is Working is directed by Jim Fall and produced by Lee Costello.

David Dean Bottrell Is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and The Meaning of Life plays at the Acme Comedy Theater in Los Angeles, CA (135 N la Brea Ave) on February 20 and 27 and March 6 and 13. Click here for tickets!

1. Last time we spoke, you were performing your one-man show David Dean Bottrell makes love. What did you enjoy most about the run? Is this a show you would perform again? That show changed my life. I’d never done anything like it. I was initially terrified by the idea of standing out there all by myself for 70 minutes. But then it began to feel like this totally natural thing to do. Love is such a universal constant in people’s lives. That show had something for everybody. I was so lucky to have gotten the press and the audiences that I got. We extended four times. I’m definitely hoping to bring it back again under the right circumstances.

David Dean Bottrell in "David Dean Bottrell is Working", Photo Credit: John Flynn2. Now you are gearing up for your brand-new show David Dean Bottrell is Working: One Man's Search for Employment and the Meaning of Life! How did come up with the title and concept for this show? After the last show, so many people kept asking what’s next? I used to write a pretty popular blog about being middle-class in Hollywood. I began to wonder if there was a show in there somewhere. The script has morphed quite a bit as I’ve been writing it so that it’s not completely about show business anymore. It’s reminded me of the big questions we all ask ourselves like "Is this what I really want to be doing with my life?" or "Does this have any meaning?" My career has had a lot of bumps in it and I’ve met some crazy people. One night I sat down and wrote the first story and it just sort of took off from there.

3. What excites you about performing at the Acme Comedy Theater? It’s a beautiful space. One of the nicest I’ve ever worked in. We’ve definitely upped the game this time out. I also love that it has such a great history of really funny people performing on that stage. I feel excited every time I’m in there.

4. Without giving too much of the show away, what has been the hardest part about in your search for employment? How have you gotten through these hard times? Show business ain’t for sissies. It’s really tough to open yourself up to all that inevitable rejection. The whole experience is so ironic. In order to survive you have to have a skin like a rhinoceros, but in order to be any good you have to be open and vulnerable. It can drive you bat-shit-crazy. You have to really love it to sustain a career.

5. What job have you taken to makes ends meet? When I was first starting out I did a ton of jobs. I was a waiter, a bartender, a telemarketer. I cleaned apartments. I worked in a real estate office. I was a bike messenger. I sold marijuana for a while. You name it.

David Dean Bottrell in "David Dean Bottrell is Working", Photo Credit: John Flynn6. During our last interview we talked about who inspired you to become a writer/performer. Who's work do you admire now that makes you want to keep doing what you do? My current heroes are Louis C.K. and Tina Fey. They literally "wrote" their way into their current careers. I admire anybody who can employ themselves instead of waiting for somebody to do it for them.

7. In one of your earlier stage shows, Streep Tease, a long-running homage to Meryl Streep, you hysterically performed the entire plot of Out of Africa in six minutes flat. How did you decide to do this show? Did Meryl ever come see this show? Have you ever found out what she thought of it? When I was asked to do it, I knew I wanted to do "Out of Africa," because I remembered loving it. Then when I rented it again, I realized it’s almost 3 hours long! That’s when I had the idea of trying to do the whole story of the film in 6 minutes. Ms. Streep never came to see the show, but her agents at CAA did. She was asked about it in an interview and was very gracious. She said she didn’t want to see it because she had no interest in seeing any show that was all about her. I thought that was a very classy answer and from what little I know about her, it sounded truthful.

8. How would you want someone to pay homage to you? By buying a ticket to this show! Which opens February 20th!

9. What advice would you give someone who was looking to make it in Hollywood? Learn to love the whole package. All of it. Including the part where you look for work, because you will spend much of your career doing exactly that.

10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Funny you should ask that because one of the stories in my new show is about my childhood obsession with super heroes! I can tell you that 20 years of sitting in L.A. traffic has made long for the power of flight! I’m still hoping that one morning I’ll wake up and be able to take flight.

Thursday
Feb162012

Rob Ackerman: Call Me Waldo Interview

Rob Ackerman is playwright on the rise. His hit play "Tabletop," about the hilarious behind-the-scenes madness of making a television commercial, made it's Off-Broadway debut in 2000, presented by The Working Theater. Now, Rob is teaming up with The Working Theater again for his latest play "Call Me Waldo," which takes a comic and insightful look at the workplace, upending stereotypes about the working class when an ordinary electrician begins channeling the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Rob's other plays include "Origin of the Species" (later a film starring Amanda Peet), "Disconnect" (presented in 2005 by Working Theater), "Loons" (EST), and "Volleygirls." In addition to playwrighting, Rob has been Prop Master for NBC's "Saturday Night Live" for many years, working on numerous commercial parodies such as "Schmitt's Gay Beer," "Mom Jeans," "Chewable Pampers," and "Red Flag Perfume."

"Call Me Waldo" will play through March 11 at the June Havoc Theatre in NYC (312 West 36th Street between 8th & 9th Ave). All tickets are $25 (except Saturday Matinees on Feb. 18 and 25 are pay-what-you-can at the door). Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I started as an actor, became a director, and wrote my first play many years after school in the wake of the suicide of a friend. Actors inspire me. What they do is sacred. And plays are more like music than literature. The actors are our musicians. We hear and are moved by them-- their tones, their breathing, their phrasing. They transport us -- they take us places.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Reed Birney, and many many many others.

3. What made you want to write "Call Me Waldo"? I've loved and read Emerson since I was a kid, but I didn't want to write some heavy historical period piece, so I got the idea of having this great man's poetry emerge from a character I know from my day job as a union craftsman. I work with a lot of guys who live on Long Island and I like how they sound-- their swaggering, shit-kicking toughness. And I thought: what if Emerson showed up in of one of them?

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I want people to realize that we're all amazing. We are part of God. Emerson believed that, and I believe it too.

5. What excites you about this cast which will help bring "Call Me Waldo" to life? Each member of this ensemble owns his or her role. Completely. That's really rare. We often say, "Oh, I like the show except for so-and-so." You can fill in the blank. Nobody says that about CALL ME WALDO. Some of these artists have been working on the play for years. They're all veterans. And there's no small part, so they play nicely together, like a freakin' string quartet.

6. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a show? The part we're doing now. Putting it on its feet. I love how the tactile and sonic and luminous elements enter the picture. Our sound designer Don Tindall took his inspiration from the classic rock that tradesmen always play on boom boxes at every job site. I love that. David Arsenault built a set out of steel studs, A/C plywood and conduit-- the rough materials of a world I know and love. Everything is under construction. And our amazing director, Margarett Perry, knows and cares for these characters as well as and as much as I do. My writing continues in every phase of the process, and at this point, I'm mainly listening, hearing false notes and finding better ones.

7. Where is your favorite place to write? I scribble and type in the corner of a bedroom. I do that because I need to say the words out loud as they come to me. But I write in all sorts of unlikely places-- roadsides, the shower, on my bike on the way to work at 5AM. The characters don't always speak at convenient times and I need to be ready when they do.

8. For many years, you were the prop master at SNL. How did you make the transition from prop master to playwright? What is your most cherished memory of working on SNL? I still work as Prop Master for the SNL Film Unit, and also on non-fake TV commercials and occasional TV shows and whatever job lands in my lap. I do not make a living as a playwright. You can't make a living as a playwright unless you're David Ives. And I've never sold a TV show, though I've tried.

There are too many great moments from SNL to name, but some are: BRITISH TOOTHPASTE with Mike Myers (which was part of his creative process for Austin Powers), SCHMITT'S GAY BEER with Adam Sandler and Chris Farley (for which I built a sort of medieval winch that four body builders cranked to levitate six body builders out of a swimming pool), MOSTLY GARBAGE DOG FOOD (where I helped create dog food from egg shells, a soggy tea bag, a banana peel, and lots of other disgusting stuff...and the dog actually tried to eat it), BRITISH MOVIE with Russell Brand (a ridiculously ambitious one-day shoot that yielded a brilliant mini-movie), and RED FLAG PERFUME with the lovely Kristin Wiig (for which I poured a case of bubbly into a tower of champagne glasses).

Let me very clear: I am not a writer for SNL. Its writers are brilliant brainiacs. I am a problem solver, a prop guy, and I like that work.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright and as well as SNL's prop master? I've learned craft. Playwriting is craft. Plays require careful and patient invention and shaping and reshaping, and so do prop jobs.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Move on. Pete Gurney told me that. You have to work and work on your work, but eventually you must move on.

Saturday
Nov052011

Lisa Lewis

I first came to know Lisa a few years back and her kindness, amazing personality, and creativeness really attracted me to her. We became friends and since then have been through some really great times together! We are equal supporters and admirers of each other's work, so to be able to have the opportunity to interview Lisa in this capacity, is a true pleasure and honor!

Lisa Lewis is a rising playwright, essayist, and storyteller who has already had her essays, profiles and book reviews published in The New York Times, ELLE Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, New York Press, and Biography Magazine. Lisa's essays have been written about by The New Yorker, Gawker and The Washington Post. Her live storytelling performances have been recognized by NY-1 News, which called her “a rising voice in the world of literature, comedy and theater.” She spent six years performing coverage and screenplay development notes for New Line Cinema and was a long-time reader and analyst for Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal at Tribeca Productions. Lisa is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Dramatic Writing Program.

Lisa will be presenting an industry-only reading of her play "Schooled" on November 15 at 8pm at The New Ohio Theatre in NYC featuring Tony Award Winner Michael Cerveris, James Kautz (founder of The Amoralists Theatre Company), and Broadway's Phoebe Strole and Mara Davi. Industry reservations can be made by e-mailing SchooledThePlay@gmail.com.

For more on Lisa be sure to visit http://www.LisaLewisWriting.com and follow her on Twitter!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer? I have been the beneficiary of amazing teachers. When you’re young (and when you’re old) you’re very sensitive to influence and positive validation, and I was very lucky to have teachers who saw that I had a passion and never once discouraged me. As an only child, I spent a lot of time reading, my parents filled my room with books, so my love of storytelling and language was likely born there, between the pages of Ramona the Great, Gone with the Wind and John Grisham.

2. If you could work with anyone in the industry, who would you choose? Holy Moly! The first name that popped into my mind was Woody Allen. Without Feathers is one of my favorite books of all time, not to mention a slew of his movies make my top-ten list (Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Interiors, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Match Point). I once sat next to him in a theatre and he said he liked my shoes. It was a banner day for me.

3. What made you want to write the play "Schooled" and how did you come up with the title? What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I spent a lot of time writing family plays (much to my parents’ chagrin.) My new six-word autobiography is: “It’s not all about my mother” - I wanted to challenge myself to move on from those stories. I was really struggling with how my presentation as an attractive young woman influenced my relationship with male mentors and bosses and that I was at times both conscious and unaware of using that. I wanted to examine the issue of culpability in those situations. Class, and access to opportunity have always been themes that interest me as well. I hope that each character in the play has a learning experience and it takes place at a university – everyone is getting Schooled.

Hopefully the audience will walk away arguing about who’s in the right, who deserved the grant, who was hurt more, and in a wider context start asking questions about how we can fix a broken system where access to opportunity is dependent on your economic class and family background - the achievement gap between children born to college educated parents verses not is heartbreaking. What can we do?

4. You assembled a great cast for this industry reading: Tony Award Winner Michael Cerveris, Jams Kautz, Co-found of The Amoralists Theatre Company, and Broadway's Phoebe Strole, and Mara Davi. How did you assemble such a great cast? What excites you most about this industry reading and how did you decide to have it at The New Ohio Theatre? For me, the cast really underscores the generosity and sense of collaboration in the theatre community. I met James Kautz because I was a fan of his theatre company the Amoralists and had a friend that worked with them and connected me to James. I was terribly excited when he did an early reading of Schooled in 2010. Same with Phoebe who came to me through Matt Schneider, my dramaturge, as did Mara Davi. The first time I met Phoebe I was tripping over my tongue talking to her I was so nervous to be working with a Broadway actress – Phoebe has since become a great friend and collaborator. I met Michael through James – he’s a fan of the Amoralists too. We talked at their after parties and he was so kind and cool and laid back. I knew immediately that some day I wanted to ask him to read the part of Andrew. He’s a tremendous actor. I wanted Andrew to have an underlying vulnerability and I kept imagining Michael while I was writing. A year later, I asked him. His enthusiasm and generosity are really inspiring.

I came to the New Ohio Theatre when a friend, David Gibbs of DARR Publicity, introduced me to their Ice Factory Festival. There I found a community that is dedicated, creative and full of energy. Like the cast, the New Ohio confirms for me that theatre is about working with people who share each other’s passions. The reading is an opportunity to connect with even more talented theatre artists, and that is so exciting. 

5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a play or an article? Where is your favorite place to write? Believe it or not my favorite part of writing is rewriting! There is a thrill in going back to a scene or essay to turn the screw, really develop the characters, find the themes, discover the exact words and feelings. I have witnessed how much better one draft is from the last, and I love the promise of that. It’s a huge relief. I used to enjoy writing at Café Pick Me Up in the East Village, but since I moved to Brooklyn, my favorite place to write is at my kitchen table.

6. What have you learned about yourself from being a writer? Sometimes holding on to facts keeps you from finding the truth. I spent a lot of time writing stories as a way to say, look, this happened to me – but they were so one-sided. Writing plays has allowed me to see events through a prism of other perspectives. Letting characters follow their own journeys, and stray from what I think happened, brings me closer to honest feelings in my own life.

7. You've had articles published in Elle Magazine and The New York Times. What was it like when you found out your work was going to be published? What did it mean to you personally and professionally? Oh my god, I was SO thrilled. It’s such a heady sense of validation – but of course, it only lasts for an instant, and then you’re back to what’s next? I guess that’s the professional roller coaster, yay published, now what? I’m learning to really stop and enjoy any success. Personally, my story in Elle was a little terrifying, because of my family’s reaction to their portrayal in the piece, but it was also incredibly heartening, I had so many readers reach out to tell me they had similar experiences, and it also taught me that I can say the things I really need to say for me. The New York Times piece was just super fun!

8. What's the best advice you've ever received? The playwright Neil Labute told my class at Tisch that our peers’ success is our success too. When a contemporary has a great professional achievement that you’re jealous of, remember that it’s your achievement too. We’re helping each other all the time and we’re part of the same community. Any wall torn down, every connection made, each piece of exciting theatre created, is good for us all.

9. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I once had a dream about a tiny yellow elephant who was my friend. I wish I could dream about him again.

10. Favorite website? Right now it’s a toss up between The New York Times and Halloween or Williamsburg (halloweenorwilliamsburg.tumblr.com/).

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite way to stay in shape? Favorite way to spend your day off? I substitute anxiety for exercise. I love walking and belly laughs and food. So I guess my favorite way to spend my day off is walking around Brooklyn, while laughing with friends and then we eat.

12. Favorite skin care product? Favorite kind of shoes? I like this Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion – it’s a moisturizer, pricey but I splurge. My favorite shoes are really worn in cowboy boots, but my fav brand is Miz Mooz.

13. Superman or Wonder Woman? Is this for a date? Can I have both?

Friday
Aug202010

David Caudle

Photo Credit: Laura Marie DuncanDavid Caudle is a playwright on the rise...as a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, he has developed several plays including "Likeness," "Leg Man," "South Beach Rapture," "Damsel," and "The Common Swallow." Many of his shows are set in his hometown of Miami or premiere there. "In Development" and "Likeness" both premiered at New Theatre in Miami in October '09 and September '07 respectively. "The Sunken Living Room," now published by Samuel French, also premiered at New Theatre as a co-production with Southern Rep in April '06, followed by an acclaimed New Orleans production at Souther Rep in January '07. David's one-act, "Feet of Clay," is also published in Samuel French's 29th Edition of Festival Plays and was turned into a short film directed by "True Blood's" Carrie Preston. David most recently wrote the screen adaption of "Major Conflict: One Gay Man's Life in the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Military" by US Army Major Jeffrey McGowan. Currently, David's play "South Beach Rapture" can be seen in the NYC Fringe Festival. Showtimes are Sat. 8/21 at 11pm, Sun. 8/22 at 4:15pm, Mon. 8/23 at 3:45pm, Wed. 8/25 at 7:45pm. Next up for David will be a run of his show "The Sunken Living Room" in the HOWL! Festival at Theatre 80 (80 St. Marks Place in NYC) on September 14, 25, 26 at 8pm. This will be a benefit for a health and emergency fund for "Lower East Side Artists," administered through the Actor's Fund. For much more on David and his plays, be sure to visit: http://www.davidcaudle.org/

1. Who inspired you to become a playwright? I would have to say Tennessee Williams. He was a poet to the core, and his heart just pours from the mouths of his characters. I also relate to him in that I have southern roots and have been told I create complex female characters.

2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with Sam Shepard. I have a role he would be incredible for, in a play called In Development. Call me, Sam.

3. Who do you consider to be your hero? Primary Stages is my hero right now. They've been so supportive of my work, in the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. That's where I developed my current FringeNYC play, SOUTH BEACH RAPTURE. Primary's associate artistic director Michelle Bossy, who runs the writers group, is directing the play. It's been a really great process, and the group has been a big help to me, in developing work, meeting other great writers, and feeling like I have a foothold somewhere in this big town.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Erik Satie to give my dreams a nice soundtrack, and Salvador Dali for the visuals.

5. What's your proudest moment? My proudest moment so far was my seventh anniversary in June. My partner Mako and I make a great team. We've both grown so much personally and professionally with the support of the other. Our plants and our cat are still alive, too.

6. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that no one knows about? Whenever I look at a page in a book, my eye automatically links the spaces between words to create vertical white line drawings. Is that a talent, or should I start wearing my reading glasses more regularly?

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I hate the gym but I'm trying to get back. I live on the fifth floor so that helps. I bought a bike, rode it twice and sold it. I miss it, but reality set in.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs. Boxers don't quite come to the party, you know? They're there, but they really don't make an effort.

9. Favorite website? Google, Research. What did we ever do before?

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman. She has her invisible plane. I imagine Superman must get bugs in his teeth.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Summer Resort or Winter Retreat? Winter Retreat. I grew up in Miami. Snow still fascinates me, especially in beautiful places. Last winter Mako and I went to the top of a volcano right near Obama, Japan, and it snowed. Gorgeous. Even in the city, I like snow, at least at the beginning of Winter. Then I start feeling like New York should just be seventy degrees because what's the point of all those dirty piles on the corners?

12. What's the best advice you've ever received? Listen. I tend to blabber on sometimes, and you don't learn anything that way.