Amir Levi is rising playwright and performer who graduated the Atlantic Theater Conservatory and Atlantic Theater LA. His New York credits include "Te Busco" (45 Bleecker), "Turning" (Working Man's Clothes), "Generic Hispanic" (Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre), "The Chrome Warrior" (Sum of Us Theatre), "The Field of Mars: Chapter 1" (Counts Media), "Blind Date" (Bouchez-Brazda), "Requiem" (Kirkos), and "The World May Be Ending… But at least the sex is good" (WOW Café). Outside of NYC: "Four Clowns," "Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio," "Psycho Beach Party" (WTF Workshop); "Peter & the Wolf." A dancer and choreographer as well, Amir has performed with Alexx & Ann Make Dances as well as Philippa Kaye Company, and is the Artistic Director for The Poisonous Ladies: Amir Levi Dance.
Amir can been seen as a series regular in the webseries, Unicorn Plan-It, on Autostraddle.com and his show "Male Matriarch" will be in the NYC International Fringe Festival from August 18-25 at Kabayitos CSV Center Cultural Center (107 Suffolk Street, #312). For tickets, click on the date you want to see the show: Thur, Aug 18 @ 9pm, Fri, Aug 19 @ 7pm, Sat, Aug 20 @ 2:45pm, Sun, Aug 21 @ 2pm, Mon, Aug 22 @ 7:30pm, Thur, Aug 25 @7pm.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright/performer? The movie Annie inspired me to become a performer. When I was 4-5 years old, living in Cleveland, Ohio, the first thing I would do when getting home was to go to the swing-set in the backyard and sing the songs from Annie as I swung away. I became interested in playwriting during my junior year abroad from Sarah Lawrence College. I had wanted to write a solo show for quite some time but hadn't found the right means or right subject to write about. I was thinking about my background and the international household I grew up in (my dad's Israeli, my mom's Mexican), and after expressing frustration to a good friend of mine at the National Theatre Institute (after one of our nightly walks to the beach) that I felt more connected to my mother and grandmother than anyone else, he suggested I explore that route. Also, my amazing playwriting teacher at NTI, Rachel Sheinkin, was a strong motivator.
2. Who is the one person you havne't worked with that you wold like to? Madonna. She is one of my favorite pioneers and has been my hero for the longest time.
3. What made you want to tell your story, "Male Matriarch" and what excites you most about having it in the NYC Fringe Festival? My first draft of "Male Matriarch" was used as an exploration of what I have in common with my mother and grandmother, where I'm different, and how coming out affected my path in life. Since then, the play has morphed (as I've gotten older) into an exploration of love and where my search for my soul mate is inspired by my mother and grandmother's respective stories, and how since I do believe I am destined to follow in their footsteps, the complications that have arisen as a result of my sexual identity, time that we live in, etc. Each time I come back to the play, I learn something different from it, and how relevant it is to everyone's search for where they fit in, in this particular generation, apart from the people that have come before us. I've learned that no matter what your orientation is, you will find something in this play that calls to you. I'm really excited about having it in the Fringe Festival because NYC is my home, and so many wonderful artists from around the world congregate here especially for this festival. As I come from a very international family, there's no better place to have my first run (rather than workshops or solo performances) than this festival. Also, it's particularly important to me to perform this play this year to play tribute to the memory of my grandmother. She died in January and I'm determined to let her memory live on.
4. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer and playwright? How did the dissolution of your relationship make you change for the better? If I answer this question now, I might be giving away everything that happens in my play.
5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a show? What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? In writing, I think it's taking what I've been able to get out of myself in a first draft, and then restructuring it in subsequent drafts so that I'm actually articulating and honoring my true intentions. Once I get the first draft out of me, the writing process becomes more fun. In terms of the rehearsal process, I'd have to say that it's the different approaches and meanings each section can have based on direction. For example, as the writer and subject matter of this piece, it's impossible for me to have an objective view or vision. Add an extremely insightful director and choreographer, and then there are meanings and experiments with tone that I never would've thought of on my own. It's extremely rewarding to create something from your heart and soul, and then to have others join that process. It's like a never-ending birthday party, where people actually show up with gifts.
6. Favorite place to write/rehearse/practice on your own? In my cozy studio apartment on the Upper East Side. I definitely miss living there full time!
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga, or running laps with my cats around the apartment.
8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.
9. Favorite website? Besides netflix.com/wihome? :)
10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Superman.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? "You Do You"
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Ewan McGregor.