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Coney

nytheatre.com q&a preview by David Johnston
October 2, 2012

What is your job on this show?
playwright.

Do you like to read plays, or just perform them?
I read plays all the time. It's my job. I don't understand writers who don't like to read. Having said that, I always feel like there are tons of new writers doing interesting stuff and I haven't read any of them!

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this fall that...?
Features a two-headed cow in a pivotal scene. I feel secure in making that statement.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I met Gary, Stephen, Bob and Kyle almost ten years ago. Ten years! Can you believe that? We used to all congregate at a bar in the East Village called Totem, and we ended up doing lots of readings and rehearsals there. That bar ended up going out of business, probably because we were always taking over the joint. There are also a bunch of actors in the show I've worked with before - George Hosmer, who's done two shows of mine, Frank Anderson, ditto, Tracey Gilbert, who's done more plays of mine than I could count, Amy Staats, who just was in the film adaptation we did of "Mothra is Waiting."

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Thomas Edison! Because he electrocuted an elephant at Coney Island. He did it just to win an argument with Westinghouse. And they filmed it. I saw the film of it out at the Coney Island Museum.

Theater is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
I agree. Theater should be disreputable, and messy and question authority and blow up your sacred cows. And theater is about a community, too, even in the community is the other people sitting around you for 90 minutes. Theater is necessary in a democracy, because it can do all those things and all those things are needed. They're needed even if people don't go, or think it's all just worthless.