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The Apple Tree, or Penis no. 7

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Regina Gibson
September 20, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Actor/Playwright.

Do you consider yourself a writer who also performs, an actor who also writes, or something else?
I went to school with the intent of studying acting, and I did and I loved it, but I have alway believed that creativity can and does manifest itself through multiple forms of expression, which is a fancy way of saying that when you feel all these lovely impulses swirling around inside your artistic soul, it is undoubtedly satisfying to allow these pleasant itches different channels to move out into the world. Not that all artists are or should be masters of every art form, but it is fun to try. I wrote silly poems and sometimes not no silly poems and stories as a child and it has been a very rewarding experience to incorporate these early skills into the work I do as an actor now. Often actors look to the playwright to give them a voice or a point of view or a story to tell, which is rewarding as it expands upon and allows us to share our knowledge of people and their stories. But when you write your own story in a way that is unique to you, mine being spoken word poetry, what a treat!

Why is this piece a solo play (rather than a multi-actor play)?
My piece is a solo play because it is spoken almost exclusively through my stream of conscious thoughts that happen to rhyme. I don't adopt other characters or put them on, which I admire in other solo performances I have seen, but instead of spending time choosing to explore a multi character play from a single outlook, I am allowing the piece to ride my own train of thought, which in the end only requires one actor. I suppose The Apple Tree is really more about those inside thoughts that live in one young woman's brain. We already hear what the other voices and figures in out life have to tell us and recommend to us on a daily basis, sometimes it's nice just to hear what one person thinks about the situation based on their own life history. Especially with sex.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
What I like about The Apple Tree, or Penis no. 7, is that even though it is based on my own experiences with the penis, I have had people come up to me after previous performances and mention how it reminded them of the time when this awkward thing happened to them during a blowjob, or their own personal walk of shame the morning after. I believe the piece allows the audience to have an open dialogue about sex and its humanity rather than its idealism or search for perfection. Because even though people "talk" about sex all the time (or not) I wonder how often they are really saying anything.

Which famous solo performer has been most inspirational to you: Spalding Gray, John Leguizamo, Lily Tomlin, or Whoopi Goldberg?
Lily Tomlin she's a genius.

Theater is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Of course it is. People love to talk about ideas, and theater is like an idea-churning machine. A good play will show you all sides of the argument, and then lay it out for discussion rather than preach or force feed an answer. Which is what democratic societies should be based on.