nytheatre.com q&a preview by Riley Thomas
January 21, 2013
What is your job on this show?
What is your show about?
A young man inherits chaos after his twin brother dies.
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I'm attracted to theater that is visceral, realistic, and complex - yet simple in its presentation. Therefore my writing is conversational and modern. I take what people already know and assume and turn it slightly on its head - that's where my work starts and the world of the show begins. Then I take the audience on a journey that I hope will affect them deeply. I work to squeeze every ounce of the human experience out of every show I write, and therefore search for the humor, the horror and the hope in whatever circumstance my characters are in, tying it all together in a cohesive narrative. In Wearing Black, the narrative centers around the death of Evan's twin brother, and what that does to all the people left behind. At the end of the day, the most important thing that unifies the theater I like to work on is an emotional story that will resonate somehow with theatergoers.
Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
Honestly? None of those. The audience is the most important. That's why all of us get together to do this.
Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
This is not entertainment fluff, but you will be entertained. This is not a comedy, but you will laugh. This is not the self-indulgent wallowing-endlessly-in-sadness musical about death you're probably assuming it is. How boring would that be? This is life as it happens behind closed doors, the kind of life that isn't sugarcoated for the stage. There are people making bad choices. There are drugs. There is graphic violence. There is sexuality. But there is also kindness, beauty, hope, and the yearning for tranquility. Wearing Black does not rely on shock value. Each of its darker aspects is rooted in the necessity of the moment and done tactfully. The show doesn't exactly push the envelope, but it does point at it a lot. It is not appropriate for children, but I dare everyone else to come see whether or not we can pull it off.
Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
Again I'm going to be "that guy" and pick one that's not on the list: Jessica Rabbit. Wearing Black is sexy, dangerous, alluring... there's always more to discover. It's shameless but subtle, moral but corrupt, innocent but carnal. You may have an idea of its intentions, but the journey will still captivate you.
Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Yes. And I don't even need to explain my answer, people have done so far more eloquently: "Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought." -EY Harburg "There can't be any large-scale revolution until there's a personal revolution, on an individual level. It's got to happen inside first." -Jim Morrison