May 21st - Judgement Day
nytheatre.com q&a preview by Joshua Young
July 20, 2012
What is your job on this show?
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Theater that, somehow, involves the audience in an immediate way. May 21st - Judgement Day more than once acknowledges the audience members and even imbues them meaning and attributes that have immediate relevance for the actors. I think that other mediums, film, television, internet series, have evolved so well and so completely that theater has to evolve concurrently, and recognize that some stories are best in certain mediums. I like theater that MUST somehow involve the audience. This doesn't have to be in-your-face, but there is a subtle and delicate relationship that I hope forms between people seeing May 21st and the actors on stage.
Why did you want to be part of FringeNYC?
The festival really is the the best opportunity for non-traditional theater to flourish. Broadway is sorta-kinda like the 1% of the New York theater world, and the 99% is the gamut that starts with Off Broadway and lands with the vast majority of theater being Off-Off and downtown theater. Fringe encourages that 99%. Fringe gives a voice to those people that want to see and be a part of a theater community that is hands on, people with faces you see everyday, artists with messages that need to be heard, and individuals with palpable talents. I remember last year seeing a show by a theater group called The Arts Effect called Facebook Me and a show called The More Loving One and had my theater spirit reinvigorated a bit by the efforts and rigor of people who want to tell stories.
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
I think this show is about finding the will to make yourself better in the face of apocalyptically dire circumstances. On the surface, the show is about a girl -Valentine- who had been raised her whole life in an apocalypse survival bunker. She is visited by a guy who has been manipulative and abusive during her stay, but he does it out of a morbid sense of Christian religious fundamentalism. Even if there is a war raging above her head, she eventually realizes that what is happening to her is wrong and she has to escape. I hope the audience comes away with the realization that if she can overcome her circumstances, we can all make ourselves better than we are. Just kinder, better people. I hope.
Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Thomas Edison. Although I am more of a Tesla man myself, Edison would appreciate the phantasmagoric qualities of the staging (he did do a Frankenstein picture after all) but also would like the technicality of the piece.
Theatre is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
I agree vehemently. But it all depends on the levels of apathy that are already being ensconced in the culture... and then only a zeitgeist of a movement could go about shaking that apathy away. But theatre can really engage people, force them into the present moment. Make them think about their circumstances. Why do you have an ipad and not health insurance? Also, it requires to think about the nature of theatre. How much of OWS is really just theatre? A lot. And that is a good thing.