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He Loved The Soft Porn Of The City

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Kristen Williams
July 25, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Pianist and Composer.

Who are your heroes?
David Bowie, Madeleine L'Engle and Christopher O'Riley. David Bowie - I love that he always does something different. When I mention his name, many people say, "He's old school!" David Bowie is so much more than Ziggy, so much more than the early 1970s. He is always looking forward and experimenting with his music and his characters. Madeleine L'Engle - I love this writer. I have read all of her fiction. L'Engle was very successful early in her career. Then about 20 years in, she wrote "A Wrinkle In Time" which no publishing house wanted to touch. She persevered, and it is now one of the most beloved books in the English language. I also took comfort in one of her characters, Katherine Forrester, when I decided to throw caution to the wind and leave my comfortable job for the life of a professional musician. Christopher O'Riley- I had always been a classical concert pianist. I did play in a punk band, however I never blended the two. I liked playing the work of classical masters, and I played concerts. However, I was never completely satisfied. I then began exploring the piano transcriptions of Christopher O'Riley. I loved that they were so pianistic. They reminded me, technically, of the work of Liszt or Ravel, but with a rock edge. Around the same time, we started working with Morten "Skovgaard" Danielsen our dear friend who is the main character in the work "He Loved The Soft Porn Of The City". With Skovgaard, I began creating music that was classical and punk, surprising and deeply fulfilling

Why did you want to be part of FringeNYC?
New York City Baby! FringeNYC is a curated arts festival. "He Loved The Soft Porn Of The City" is a 45 performance art concept piece. The application process was rigorous. We had to submit biographies, work samples and an outline of the show. For our work to be chosen out of hundreds of applicants is a great honor. I feel it was a shot in the dark. I'm glad we have this opportunity.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Writing and performing "He Loved The Soft Porn Of The City" was not an option for me. The main character, Skovgaard, is based on a dear friend of mine. He came to the United States to collaborate on music, in a new musical style, for an opera with my partner and me. After he finished writing his opera, he returned to Denmark and committed suicide. Being so close to him, I was not surprised this happened. However, as I started reading through his old emails and poems, I started creating music in this new style. After a work is created, one must share it.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
I think Thomas Edison would love our show. "He Loved The Soft Porn Of The City" employs sound, film, and dance. The show puts together genres that most people say, "That's impossible" but for Edison, everything was possible - it's just a matter of finding out how. The show also touches on an interesting subject: death in the time of social media. Thomas Edison not only was interested in creating technology, but he would be interested to know how technology affects society.

Theatre is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
I agree that theater is a necessary ingredient to democratic societies. In theater we are working together to achieve results. This means coming to an understanding in order to reach a common goal. In addition to the mechanics of putting on a production, there is the performance of the story itself - fiction or non. These stories speak to the audience and to the actors themselves. When an actor lives in the character, they begin to understand life from another perspective. Imagine if all children were required to work together and understand life from the viewpoints of others. Perhaps, as adults, we may make more conscious decisions as we vote and affect the lives of our fellow citizens.