13 Things About Ed Carpolotti
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Barry Kleinbort
November 7, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I don't know when it started, I only know that I was writing plays and putting them on in backyards from the age of 10 years old, getting all the neighborhood kids to join in. I didn't understand at that time that the theater was a genuine profession (many people today will tell you that it isn't!) but I made up my mind in high school that I was going to be involved in any way I could: Acting, directing, writing, composing, producing, back end of the horse, stage manager... Well, maybe not stage manager.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Theater is the only medium in which you can have simultaneous worlds existing on a single stage and the audience will know what's going on... they'll take in all of the stimulus and successfully put it all together. It's a concept that you can't duplicate in film or on paper, only in the theater. The audience is also an active, even interactive, part of the process. Laughter and applause can stop a play. Try doing the same thing at a movie and see what happens. Musicals, in particular, have always interested me. They work on so many different levels: Musically, lyrically, visually, subliminally. When all of these elements come together emotionally, in my opinion there's no greater pleasure to be found. It's why I still believe in musicals and continue to write them.
Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
Well, every writer would like to believe that discussion will continue "into the wee hours," but considering the average age of most theatergoers these days, the wee hours is around 11:30pm. This piece runs 65 minutes and I truly believe people will discuss it afterwards for about the same length of time. Women, in particular, will identify with the plight of the show's heroine, Virginia Carpolotti. They will either see themselves or someone they know up on that stage... a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a best friend. Also, the show deals with making peace with the past and moving on... which, in the age of therapy, is a topic that so many people are dealing with in their own lives. But, I must stress that this piece is not cerebral or preachy. It's funny and touching...and, if those qualities are novelties these days, I hope that will spark discussion
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would create a black box theater with 75 seats and encourage a cross section of writers and directors in town to get back to basics. Give them a modest budget and say, "Do something that doesn't require 10,000,000 bucks or a cast of 50 people." Find a way to tell a story, let us use our imaginations, take it wherever you want us to go... and know at the end of it all, you've got a space to perform it in. 95% of what's being written at the moment will never be tried out in front of a real audience. I'm not talking about a handful of friends or producers...I mean an honest to goodness audience who actually paid to enter. An audience is still the only way that you can possibly know what you've got. I know it sounds gaga and naive, but I still believe in the power of the spoken word combined with imagination. We have to convince a future generation that the theater is worth nurturing... that it's still a vital part of our humanity. Any other idealists in the house?