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Passing Through

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Tristan Grigsby
March 17, 2013

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

What is your show about?
I heard a playwright say recently, if you can describe a play in one sentence the play should be one sentence long. But the play is about the mystery of human loneliness (which is such a vast subject it allows for lengthy discussion). Let me ask you, do you get lonely?

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I most like to work on theater that is made from me because these works are harder to do, and at the same time simpler, more personal and more interesting and a hell of a lot more fun to do (because it is difficult and the difficulty adds to the fun). I learn the most from these experiences.

Who is more important in the theater: the actor, the playwright, or the director?
There is no one who is "more important" in theater. Hierarchy is a stupid boring construct and only creates kings and kiss-asses. Each person plays a part in and of The Whole, from the stage manager, the lighting operator, to the house manager to the person who cleans the bathroom in the theater. Each person is necessary and it is best not to assign people roles and titles as this is how hierarchies are created. The producer should help to clean the bathroom, the director should run the lighting board, the house manager should help with the set design, etc. The more knowledge and caring each person has, lends, and gives in their particular parts, the kinder and friendlier the whole thing becomes.

What is one specific thing that you hope audiences will realize you’ve contributed to the production?
I don't make things with an outside eye on what the audience thinks or realizes (because I can never know what somebody else is going to think, so why make my job impossible)? My job is to make something I care about, fall in love with, and then put my heart into it. I believe with these essences of feeling (care, love and hearted effort) that go into the making of a theater piece, many of the individuals who took an hour or two out of their lives to come and spend time with a play and themselves will feel SOMETHING and the strength of that feeling is good. And I believe this play has those essences in large and ever-increasing quantity and moves our good hearts and as a result I think the play will only enhance the spirit of our lives.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
I only get one word starting with S to choose from? Since I play with words for a part of my time I can't just choose one. Did you choose one candy from the box or did you do the right thing and grab a handful?

Who are your heroes?
My heroes have always been cowboys. Not really, but I do like that song. I like John Cassavetes, Charles Bukowski, Muhammad Ali, Juliet Grigsby (my mother), Dorothy Parker, Mark Twain, and Guenevere Donohue who is a wonderful director.