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The Golden Year

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Daniel Damiano
May 7, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright.

What is your show about?
A long-married and newly retired Long Island couple soon face unexpected challenges which serve to test not only their marriage...but their collective sanity.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I appreciate any type of theatre that is character-based. As long as a theatrical piece has a character or characters that are compelling, any style of theatre can be digestible, absorbing and utterly transforming. The idea is that you always want to create work that will stay with an audience and that gives you some sort of catharsis as an artist,…because life is simply too short to waste on anything less.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
Most recently, my play DAY OF THE DOG had its critically acclaimed World Premier with St. Louis Actors’ Studio in March, and SLAS will also be doing the Regional Premier of my one-Act CUT (2012 Arts & Letters Prize Finalist) as part of their 1st Annual Neil LaBute New Play Festival in July, hosted by Neil LaBute. Earlier productions include my play THE NARROW WORLD (Y.E.S. Festival New Play Finalist), which was produced in Los Angeles by Fresh Baked Theatre Company and DREAMS OF FRIENDLY ALIENS (2006 Christopher Brian Wolk Winner) produced by Abingdon Theatre Company (Backstage Critic’s Pick). For more of this kinda' stuff, go to www.danieldamiano.com :^)

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
I think THE GOLDEN YEAR will give way to A LOT of discussion. It is not a play about a cuddly little senior couple, but a play about two human beings who deeply love each other and the complexities that enter their lives just when they thought things would be at their most predictable. It is the timeless themes of love and marriage and self-discovery which in and of itself will be identifiable for people of any age, but ALSO the very essence of what it’s like to be a senior in this country now, how we are all vulnerable to things at any time in our lives and also how discovering something new about ourselves, both good and bad, is ultimately an ageless acquisition which can lead us down roads we could have never fathomed. I emphatically believe that people will have much to talk about after seeing this play,…but it would be even better if they were speechless for a bit.

Which mythical character would like your show the best: Cyclops, Cupid, Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny?
I almost can't believe I'm dignifying this question with a response, let alone giving my selection, but Cupid would probably dig it most. His arrows would be flying. I also think the Easter Bunny would dig it, since Joe & Jean are Italian and, therefore, celebrate Easter...or at least cook a nice Ham on Sunday. Paul Bunyan doesn't go to the Theatre, nor is there a seat that could fit him,...and Cyclops, well,...enough said there, right?

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Think of how our society may be different if The Crucible never existed. Think of how deprived hundreds to thousands of artists would be to not have the opportunity of bringing this play to light for countless audiences. Think of how society may have possibly regressed had it not been for the reminder this play provides on the most adverse effects of political empowerment. There is no question that despite the ongoing fiscal constraints that befall Theatre, it is very much the Theatre that can create awareness, not only of issues but of basic humanity. And to do it in a live setting, among a room of people sharing the same experience; to engage, to get people to really be absorbed in something without the tired distractions of technology; this is what enhances a society as opposed to resorting it to an ADD-based culture incapable of sitting still. As long as the Theatre is a vital part of communities throughout the world, there is hope, but this will be an ongoing fight that theatre artists must continually engage in.