Dan Horrigan is a playwright and performer on the rise! Dan's career started when he began telling stories to anyone who would listen to him at bars and cocktail parties across New York. In 2010, Dan premiered another incarnation of "The Big A," which he was excited about because he was playing to a larger audience than before. Now "The Big A" will be in the 2011 NYC International Fringe Festival from August 13-28. "The Big A" chronicles Dan's story of living with HIV as he confronts evil bosses, hairy nipples, sassy nurses all while he's on the search for the perfect set of kitchenware!
Dan is also the co-founder and Artistic director of At Hand Theatre Company, an independent, non-profit in New York City that produces new plays while using eco-friendly practices. Dan is proud to have produced Anton Dudley's "Letters to the End of the World," fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Mark Snyder's "Lila Cante," "One Nation Under" by Andrea Lepcio and 4 seasons of "POP!" Dan has directed At Hand's productions of "Cake And Plays Without The Cake" by Jono Hustis, "Silence!" by Brian Dykstra and John Patrick Bray's "Trickster at the Gate." Last season, Dan was honored to have At Hand present his autobiographical solo show, "MY AiDS." Other directing credits include Nicky Silver's "The Altruists" (Access Theatre), Cindy Lou Johnson's "Brilliant Traces" and "PS Your Cat is Dead" by James Kirkwood.
Dan's television appearances include "Cash Cab," playing the role of "Gay Guy In The Backseat With All The Wrongs Answers" (uncredited). He also appeared in Kathy Griffin's "My Life On The D-List" playing "Laughing Gay Guy in the 3rd Row At The WaMu Theatre" (surprisingly, also uncredited).
Dan's show "The Big A" will be playing the 2011 NYC International Fringe Festival from August 13-28 at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street). For tickets, click on the date you want to see the show: Sat, Aug 13 @ 9:15pm, Thur, Aug 18 @ 10:15pm, Sun Aug 21 @ 8:30pm, Thur, Aug 25 @5pm, Sat, Aug 27 @ 7pm, Sun, Aug 28 @ 12pm. For more on Dan be sure to visit http://www.danhorriganiscute.com/
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I've always been a reader. As a little kid I was obsessed with escaping into a book and always looking for something magical to happen. Once the book was closed, I was always sort of seeking the rabbit hole or hoping for a cyclone to whisk me away. I think that desire for magic is what lead me to theatre. Which is a little ironic that my theatre career has taken an autobiographical turn where I address the things I can't escape live on stage for an audience. Weird journey huh? But it's all still magic.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I'm pretty practical and a little bit shy away from fan - boyism. When directing with At Hand I'm happy with whoever I think is perfect and is available and I know I can work well with. That's not a super fun answer is it. If pressed I'd probably choose a dead playwright. I think I'd love to work with Lillian Hellman or August Wilson. Maybe I should try channeling them. As far as storytelling goes, I'd love to have a one on one and get some pointers from Mike Birbiglia, who is decidedly not dead.
3. What made you decide to tell your story with "The Big A" and what excites you most about having it in the NYC International Fringe Festival? I started writing The Big "A" on a whim years ago. While I've always been a director and producer, people have always tried to talk me into going into stand up comedy because apparently I'm kinda funny. I thought 'wouldn't it be great to try and get up on stage and be funny and make people laugh yet also address an issue that is both personal and universal', thus an autobiographical stand up / confessional mash up about being HIV positive. The Fringe is great because that's an audience that wants to hear these kinds of stories. It's a very diverse audience and often a very non-traditional theatre going crowd.
4. What did you learn about yourself from writing "The Big A" and how do you think you have changed since doing so? When I first started writing The Big "A", I learned that I am not quite so comfortable with being HIV +. The first draft was mostly laughs and charming tidbits and me letting the audience know I was OK. A little self congratulatory. I had to sit down after a while and confront myself and how I was really feeling. And that's what the show is about. Then the whole thing just opened up and evolved. And the show changes over time; it's an ever evolving narrative and always will be... until I meet Lillian and August for real.
5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing and putting a show together? Rehearsal and anything after the first couple of performances. Playing in rehearsal, discovering new bits and finding ways to keep things spontaneous is a lot of fun. The first performance is always a bit jittery, or at least the first few minutes but once I ease into it and connect with the audience, I know I can have a lot of fun and tell some good stories. Then it feels really relaxed and conversational and in the moment and I love that. And that's where I am with this piece. Performing it is process.
6. Favorite place to write and practice on your own? Writing on my own: in my living room with my girlfriend Pandora. Practicing on my own: Hate it. Can't do it. I need people around me to work on the show out loud.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Yoga - Vinyasa to be specific.
8. Boxers or Briefs? On me or someone else? I'll go with jock strap for either.
9. Favorite website? Right now it's xhamster until I get bored with those porn clips. (I'm really getting dirty here huh?) but I'd also say nymag.com is one of my faves...oh yeah and of course my girlfriend Pandora!
10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? Book: Elphaba, Musical: Glinda
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? This is really kind of a yoga thing - that our obstacles are our greatest teachers. No matter what shitty thing you're dealing with, there's a purpose. It's there to give you something.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Maybe an amazing lover from a past life that is trying to reach out to me in the dream world. That's some drama right there. Very Shirley Maclaine.
13. What made you want to start At Hand Theatre and what has been the best part about having your own theatre company? I wanted to work on new plays. It's that simple. I wanted to work on new plays with emerging playwrights and do it on my terms. I have wonderful partners with the company (Justin Scribner and Matthew Dicarlo) and while it's not easy producing independent theatre, it's usually fun with this particular group.
14. At Hand Theatre has produced/performed some of Mark Snyder's work (be it a full length play or reading), who's also a fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant. How did you come to work with him and what is the best part about working with him? Well at this point Mark is one of my very dear friends and a constant champion. I think we found Mark through open submissions? In any case, I loved his play Lila Cante and it became the second show we ever produced. We continue to work with Mark regularly. In fact keep your eyes and ears out in 2012 for a new play by Mark Snyder, directed by yours truly. My favorite thing about working with Mark is his ability to create. He's always up for writing and re-writing. He's so open and so excited to create. 'No' or 'I can't' is just not in his vocabulary and when you have a company that is devoted to developing new work, that is the kind of person you want around. I don't think there is anybody I know that loves theatre more than Mark and I find that really inspiring.