Photo Credit: Odeliah WeissmannDan Heching is another playwright on the rise! He will make his debut as a playwright with the new play “Sammy Gets Mugged!” at the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival from August 15-28. Based on actual events from 2005 in Paris, the cast features Broadway star Stephanie Pope Caffey (Chicago, Fosse, Kiss of the Spider Woman). Dan, who was born and raised in New York, works as a freelance writer, playwright and reviewer. After studying Film & TV at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts), he lived in Paris from 2003 to 2006. Since returning to New York, his film reviews can be found at www.nextmagazine.com, and his travel vlog is at www.lostinfrancelation.com. His acting and theater credits include JR in his play “ALARM,” Bilingual Acting Workshop, Paris, 2005; Charlie in NYU in Dublin’s production of “The Living Quarters” by Brian Friel, 2001; Rabbi Yitzhak in “Stories from Chelm” and the HASC benefit performance at Radio City Music Hall, 1994. For more on Dan be sure to visit http://www.danheching.com.

"Sammy Gets Mugged!" will play the 2011 NYC International Fringe Festival at The Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street). For tickets, click on the date you want to come see the show! Mon, Aug 15 @ 2pm, Thur, Aug 18 @ 6pm, Sat, Aug 20 @ 9pm, Fri, Aug 26 @ 8:45pm, Sun, Aug 28 @ 12pm.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright and performer? Playwright - I'll have to get back to you, but for now let's say Samuel Beckett. Performer - Jennifer Connelly in the film "Labyrinth." I spent the first 8 years of my life pretending to be her.

2. If you could cast anyone in one of your plays, who would you choose? Stephanie Pope Caffey!

3. What was it about the events in "Sammy Gets Mugged!" that made you want to turn into a show? What excites you most about having "Sammy Gets Mugged!" in the NYC International Fringe Festival? After I was mugged, the way in which I would recount it to friends and family became a sort of play in and of itself. The memory was so clear, the thoughts I remember having during the exchange were so crisp...it was only natural to turn it into a story. As I would explain the event to others, certain things kept coming up--for instance, why didn't I make a run for it, or try and get help, etc.? The play is an answer to those basic questions, but so much more--it attempts to explain why this specific mugging turned out the way it did, and in a wider sense, examine how people interact in the worst--and best--of circumstances. One day I was telling close friends who live in Paris about it, and one of them said, 'You need to write about this!' And voila! I did.

The best part of putting the show up at the Fringe is that it allows me to take an experience I have been living with for 6 years now and finally bring it to light for others to see. I'm using this memory to tell a larger story, and connect some dots for people about how we interact in general, and it's so fulfilling and exciting to be a part of it on so many levels!

4. What made you move to Paris from 2003-2006 and how did that experience change you and your writing? What brought you back to NY? I moved to Paris mainly to learn French and get to know my not-so-distant French cousins better. I was also miserable working in film publicity here in the city, right out of college. My time in Paris changed my writing in that while I was there, I realized, for better or worse, that writing would always be a part of my life. Paris is a great place to try phrases like "Hi, I'm Dan, and I'm a writer" on for size. I came back to NYC because after three years because I was beginning to feel the edges of the American Expatriate pond in Paris, and wanted to try swimming with the big boys back home.

5. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing a show? Those spurts of pure, unadulterated, character-driven dialogue that come to me, oh, I'd say once every 2-3 years.

6. Favorite place to write on your own? A cafe I've never set foot in before. With free wifi.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Bikram Yoga. I'm a total addict!

8. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs. Easy.

9. Favorite website? IMDB.com. I swear I make up at least half of their daily hits.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? I'll say Wonder Woman, because we haven't seen a film with her in it (yet).

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Stop taking everything so seriously. But I never listen.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My grandmother.

13. What do you get from being a film critic that you don't get from playwrighting? A way to stay connected to the world of film, which in many ways is where I got my creative start and where much of my passion still lies. Stay tuned for SAMMY GETS MUGGED! the short film, in 2012!

Ray Lee

Dan Horrigan