This Featured Artist is Presenting:
Can you describe how you go about making your work?
I look for the stories of people who are ‘troublemakers’ and start thinking about the ways they might reach out to describe themselves and their work if given the chance. I write one-person shows because it’s easy to get them produced and I don’t have to pay myself. I avoid writing about famous people and celebrities and I’ve only written about myself once (I’m a 9/11 survivor).
What’s drives you as an artist/company?
The desire to show the other side to the American experience in the 21st century; the desire to write work that can literally be performed anywhere (no special settings or lighting, and an orientation toward work that can be performed in non-theatrical settings).
How did you begin making work?
I’ve been writing for 40 years. My first play was produced at University of South Florida and broadcast on WUSF back in 1980. I wrote my first one-man show in 1997, and I’ve been performing my own work since 2004.
One thing our readers might not know about you?
I was a resident of Tampa/St Pete in the late 1970’s. I liked it here but moved on for family/professional reasons after I graduated from University of South Florida.
One thing our readers might not know about your work?
My work has done in the US and Europe, and has been published. I’ve written over 35 plays.
What do you most like about the work you will present at this year’s festival?
I wrestled with a truly difficult subject, one that was terribly dour, and found a way to bring it to an audience in a funny context that was open enough to viewers to allow them to be part of an intimate gathering to talk about our shared humanity.
Why should audience members choose you?
People should choose me because I have something to say that they need to hear. My play lays out, with both humor and pathos, the case for our lives being shortened by forces we don’t understand. It’s a story no one wants to tell but that all of us need to hear. I will open that door. It’s a conversation that we all have needed to have for at least 20 years and a conversation we should have with our loved ones as soon as we can.
Have you ever performed in a fringe Festival before?
Describe your most memorable fringe Festival experience.
Least favorite: someone brought their four-year-old to PLANET HOSPICE, and she got a bit… concerned when I started talking about the bears dying.
Funniest: I was doing my play A CLOWN A HAMMER A BOMB AND GOD out of doors and a homeless man came up and grabbed my prop food (a jar of strawberry jam that’s been in my prop bag for 11 years) and started eating it.
Proudest/oddest: When I got the acceptance letter for A CLOWN A HAMMER A BOMB AND GOD from the NY Fringe in 1997, the performance space was in a Catholic high school and so the script had to be approved by the Archdiocese. I am thus the only son in-law (and would certainly be the only daughter-in-law) of my late very sweet Catholic Mother-in-Law to have a letter of approval from the New York Archdiocese Catholic Church.
Have you ever been to Florida or Tampa before?
What are you most looking forward to about your visit?
I’m looking forward to seeing Tampa (haven’t been there in many years) and seeing old friends (the people I went to college with). I also want a non-New York audience to see my work.
Why did you choose the Tampa Fringe?
I wanted to do this particular play in one of the states where government has made it difficult for state workers to address the issue of climate change/global warming. I love Florida and I’m afraid it’s going to be washed into the sea in the near term due to advancing sea levels and more deadly tropical storms. I’m hoping that Planet Hospice sparks a conversation about saving it (even whether it’s possible or not).
What do you hope to get from presenting on the Tampa Fringe?
I hope people who come enjoy themselves. I also want them to take some insights away about our lives and the way we live. We’ve always known that someday we would die, and (with every new story about what’s happening to our climate) there seems no better time to contemplate this fact.
Describe the context of your work and where you come from?
Thirty-plus years of life experiences played out in the city of New York, years when I felt broke or desperate or lucky or angry or gifted or loved.
Where is home and what is it like?
Brooklyn, New York has been home for 33 years. Brooklyn is a place full of writers, both living and dead (those who died with money share cemetery space with other NY celebrities in Greenwood, also the site of the Battle of Brooklyn in the Revolution). The world’s first dedicated bicycle path (Ocean Parkway) was built here in 1896. Bugs Bunny‘s dialect was pure Flatbush, one of countless archetypal American characters who hail from Kings County.
Anything else you would like to say?
I’m really looking forward to performing at the Fringe. I hope I make your time with me worthwhile.