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Prophet in Pink

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Nick Robideau
July 12, 2012

What is your job on this show?
playwright.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
The only litmus test for the theater I'll work on (be it as playwright, actor, advisor, or collaborator) is "does this piece have something to say?" Or, to put it a little more crudely, "did the playwright/creator bleed a little to make this?" I need theater to come from a deep need to express. To come from a place of passion. To have a sense of urgency. I'm not interested in theater that's casual or cute for the sake of being cute. Beyond that, it could be straight naturalism, it could be magic realism, it could be a weird site-specific experimental piece. But it has to pass that important litmus test.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one in FringeNYC that...?
...hooks you in with a supremely Fringe-y element like a talking statue, then sneak attacks you with what the play is REALLY about.

In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
On one level, it's a fun show about a circle of snarky friends in Brooklyn and the talking statue who changes their lives. I'm not one to create a show that takes itself far too seriously and spends two hours preaching to its audience. At the same time, though, layered under the jokes and fantastical elements I do have some serious questions about ambition, finding happiness, gender, sexuality, and the nature of love. And I don't necessarily answer all (or most) of those questions. My overall hope is that OK, if you want a fun fantasy-based show about a crazy talking statue, you've got it. But if you want to engage the next level of the play and delve into those bigger questions about life then you're more than welcome to.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising for sure. In creating our marketing and promotional materials for this show the question of spoilers has been a big one. All I'll say is that the audience will probably think they have the show all figured out...then the second act happens.

Theatre is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Oh, I don't think you should be doing theater if you disagree. The greatest thing about theater is its power to be insidious. Say to an American of the 1950s "Hey, let's have a critical discussion about McCarythism" and it might not go so well. Sit them down in front of The Crucible, and some of those critical questions start to worm into their head, helped along by an engaging plot, actors, scenic design, etc. Or, say to a person of today "Let's talk about the tradition of war in Western society and its corrosive effect on interpersonal relationships" and you probably won't get many takers. Buy them a ticket to Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play (a personal favorite of mine) and they might start thinking about these issues. If the play is well-written, well-acted, well-directed, and well-designed, your audience almost won't be able to help but go down whatever path you lay out for them. There's so much opportunity in that. We entertain so we can teach. We perform so we can start a dialogue. We tell stories in the hope that, maybe, we won't be alone with whatever hopes, fears, obsessions, or longings that sparked us to tell that story in the first place.