"Call Me Adam" chats with husband/husband team Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady about their new play The Upper Room which is part of a new collaboration between New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater. Running through June 12, The Upper Room is inspired by the back-to-the-land movement. A darkly humorous consideration of spirituality and the dangers of our changing environment, The Upper Room features a live mixed score, antique scuba suits and an overhead projector to create a brand new music theater event. Click here for tickets!
1. Your show The Upper Room, is being presented through June 12 as part of a collaboration between New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater. You are the second company to be completing your residency as part of this collaboration. What was it like to be selected for this participation with New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater?
Jeremy Bloom: It was absolutely life-saving/life-affirming! Space and time are crucial elements in making theater. This residency serves up both. Robert, Marc and Kori had no idea what we were going to make and neither did we, but they offered us a commitment to see it grow, and that no matter what happened, we would have space and time to present the work two years later in the type of run we are having now. This kind of residency is incredibly rare, and incredibly beautiful. And what good company, as we have so enjoyed seeing the work of the first year's artists.
Brian Rady: The fact that the residency came along when it did made the thing happen - it's not a matter of whether it helped us or not. It willed us into being, along with other such support from individuals in our community and from The Drama League and LMCC, but none of it would have happened if Robert Lyons hadn't called us that day and asked us to make something.
3. What made you want to write The Upper Room?
Jeremy Bloom: It's the result of several instances. One being that we wanted to work with Catherine Brookman to base a play around her compositions and the idea that she would perform the music she wrote in the play. After that was established, we became increasingly aware of the Earth and its elements as this mammoth thing that we abuse while it has us in its grasps.
Brian Rady: We definitely wanted an outlet to create something about this overwhelming feeling of how rapidly the earth is changing, mostly due to our own collective actions, and how much these changes are impacting our environment and our health, even in ways that we may not fully realize now.
Jeremy Bloom: I hope they are entertained, moved, and delighted.
Brian Rady: I hope they see the world through a different-colored lens, as we all wonder how to embrace the changes in the landscape and find better ways to be healthy, to eat well, and take care of the atmosphere.
5. What excites you about having this cast bring The Upper Room to life?
Jeremy Bloom: The cast is a phenomenal assemblage of our favorite people in the world right now. Some we've worked with for several years, some less, but each person is someone whose work we are invested in, and it's incredible to watch them onstage in the play.
6. In addition to being co-writers on this show, you are also a married couple. What do you enjoy most about collaborating together in so many different aspects of your life? What, if any, challenges do you face with having so much intertwined?
Jeremy Bloom: We are both "project people" and love to have something to work on, and even when we take on individual projects they wind up inherently being an unofficial part of our company by default.
Brian Rady: When it's good it's really great - we have lots to celebrate, but it's also important to keep a healthy perspective on what we're doing so we don't lose the rest of the world.
7. What is the best advice you've ever received?
Brian Rady: "Enjoy your life" were the words printed on the plastic bag the Walrus mask we use in the show came in.
Jeremy Bloom: Knowing what you want to say is more important than the words.
9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?
Jeremy Bloom: Invisibility - so as to sneak into buildings.
10. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it?
Jeremy Bloom: Ice, seltzer, vodka, cucumbers, parsley, sage, mint, rosemary, big basil leaves, all whole and fresh from the garden, with a twist - the twist is instead of drinking it you throw it in your face, and gasp for air, and shout "wow, what a dream, what a garden," as a reminder that drinks are available all over New York City, but refreshing experiences are harder to find.
Rady & Bloom Collective Playmaking is the husband/husband team of Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady. They have worked at Ars Nova, The Flea, New Ohio, IRT, The Brick, the cell, Walkerspace and Exapno. Their major directing fellowships include the Drama League Director’s Project, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the EST Director’s Residency and the T.S. Eliot Directing Fellowship. They have received support from LMCC’s Process Space and Manhattan Community Arts Fund/the NYS Department of Cultural Affairs, the Archive Residency, The Drama League’s Artist Residency Program and the HERE Artist Residency Program. R&B’s Peter/Wendy is published by Playscripts.