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You’re a Good Boy, Abercorn

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Topher Cusumano
March 25, 2013

What is your job on this show?
I wrote the script, and I also play Abercorn.

What is your show about?
Its about a man named Abercorn who was kidnapped as a child by a man named Bull, and how these two people have to negotiate sudden, rapid changes in their relationship.

Are there boundaries as to what kind of theatre you will take part in?
I'd like to say no, but that may not be true. My first solo piece at the Left Out Festival was called ROUGHHOUSE. It’s about a young hustler who gets raped, and eventually uses violence to deal with the trauma. At one point in the show I masturbated as a video of the rape was projected on a screen above me. The next year my play SHAME, SIMON, SHAME was produced. That piece is about an S&M sex worker--- it has all sorts of spanking, self-flagellation, and other fetish acts that happened live on stage. So although I'd like to say no, that there aren't many boundaries to what kind of theatre I'll make--- this new play, YOU'RE A GOOD BOY, ABERCORN makes me think otherwise. The play was inspired by the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders from the 1920s. The entire thing is really scary and unsettling. There is a lot of physical and sexual abuse that comes up--- which are themes I've dealt with in the past, but this character is different because the abuse started when he was a children, and he’s known nothing else. As a result he’s very much stuck in that child-like mentality. Because of his background the violent parts of the show become more horrifying for me--- which is the point in a way. So I think the piece is going to test a lot of my own boundaries, and hopefully some of the audience's as well.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this spring that...?
features Josh Lamon playing a terrifying serial killer. I don't think many people know that Josh is a big true crime fan, as am I. So we're both really trying to study the Wineville case, and get into the mindset of these characters. Josh is known for his brilliant work in Broadway musicals like HAIR, ELF, and of course The Public's INTO THE WOODS this past summer. So people are going to get to see Josh in a whole new light--- the role is so different just because of the process we're both going through before we even start rehearsals. I think that will read on stage in a really interesting way.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
Holy Cow, TOTALLY not appropriate for little kids. I can't even imagine what that therapy bill would look like. The play is an intimate look into the lives of these two people--- and it's a twisted little world that they live in. The relationship itself is unsettling, and that may upset some people. I think it might make people take an extra second to look at that missing persons poster at the corner store or in the bus station every day. That sounds corny, but I have a feeling this play is going to stick with people.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SURPRISING... I would tell you why, but then it wouldn't be a surprise.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Two things jumped into my head immediately. I would--- A) Find an old church and completely renovate it into a theater space. I would call it "The Church of Genet" and our first season would be all of Jean Genets plays. Directing all of his plays is on my bucket list, so that would kill two birds with one stone---OR--- B) I would try to produce a musical version of this hilarious film from 1966 called THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS. It stars Hayley Mills, and Rosalind Russell--- and it's fantastic. My version would be super campy and kitschy, and I think people would love it. I’d also kill to write a musical, but so would everyone else--- ten million would help.