Projects you have been involved in with MPR:
The Birthday Party & YEAR of the HIPPO
How would you describe MultiPurposeRoom, in your own words?
A group of really talented actor- writer- directors that happen to be friends and agree on a lot of ways to go about making theater.
How/when did you get started with MPR?
Will saw me in Molly Gillis’s independent project at ETW and then asked me to audition for Stanley in The Birthday Party. I got cast in that show, and went through the whole production as just a guest actor or something. Will then asked me to help out with YEAR of the HIPPO as it was snowballing into an actual show. And somewhere during the process MPR asked me to be an actual member.
What is your favorite MPR Project?
The Birthday Party. I haven’t seen any of the previous shows, and YEAR of the HIPPO is still in production- so it’s really the only one. But The Birthday Party was my favorite show in college. I remember coming into the theater a hour or two early one day during our run of performances, and feeling like this was a show I would be ok showing up to perform every day for a year. I loved the people I was around and the things I got to do on that stage.
How is MPR’s process different from other processes you have been a part of?
Will is definitely our leader and director, but he allows more space than most directors I’ve met to take the lead yourself, challenge popular opinion in the group, work in your own way, have TIME to develop your own thoughts. There’s a lot of space involved in our process right now- and part of that is because we’ve been working on YOTH for over half a year now and there hasn’t been an official end date, so we’ve been allowed the luxury of time, which I think we’re using to our advantage. But I remember even during Birthday Party, having rehearsals where we were supposed to make it through a certain scene, and it would instead turn into an hour long conversation about the relationship between the two characters and what Pinter was trying to say etc. And I think if I was leading that particular rehearsal I would have stopped it at some point to get back to the “work” at hand. But Will trusts all of us as performers so much that we’re allowed to drift towards whatever is resonating on any given day, and that mentality has permeated through the rest of us. It’s an incredibly relaxed and positive work environment. I have such confidence and respect for everyone I share the stage with.
Complete this sentence: I bet you didn’t know that MPR _____________
I bet you didn’t know that MPR doesn’t take itself as seriously as the themes we develop make us look like we do.
Where do you see MPR in 10 years?
We’re a really young group of people all just starting out in our careers and it would be naive to think we could keep this up without drastic changes down the road. I’m sure members will leave and new ones will come on like in any company. But I do think Will’s vision for the company grounds it more than other groups of peers that I’ve been involved with. He’s an incredibly dedicated guy. Right now our sole medium is theater. I think in the early days of MPR there was a small foray into the digital realm that has been abandoned for now. But I think in the coming years our modes of performance will change to include more film or site specific performance- at least that’s my hope for us. For now though it feels good to be working almost in secret on a devised play instead of being sidetracked by trying to make the biggest splash in our community.
What do you hope MPR’s next project is?
I know it’ll be a play that’s already been written, which will be a nice relief from YEAR of the HIPPO. I’d want it to be a play that straddles the line between drama and comedy like Birthday Party did. It suits our style so well, when moments can very easily fall on one side or the other depending on the choices we make- and being able to discover those choices by doing the show, not just thinking about it.
What is most distinctive about MPR?
When I approach a character I normally look at it as me walking half the distance, and then the character walking half the distance and us meeting somewhere in the middle. With MPR I think the character walks two thirds of the distance to get to me. We bring the characters to shape our bodies and fit our needs, rather than trying to disappear into the character. This isn’t a process we actively talk about- I think Will and I maybe touched upon it once- but I do think it’s something specific to the way we approach a text or generate material.
What movie should have won Best Picture?
Zero Dark Thirty. Argo was a wonderful movie, but it was also an easier film for everyone to get behind. Zero Dark Thirty had higher hills to climb, more social commentary, all these hot button topics, and it avoided all of the pitfalls that surround its genre. It could have very easily been a different experience to watch a movie about such sensitive issues. But instead it was this engrossing two and a half hour movie. I think those are the movies that deserve Best Picture: the movies that beat the odds. Argo was probably the second best though.
What is your favorite TV Show?
Breaking Bad. Friday Night Lights is a close second. If Breaking Bad doesn’t end well the two shows might switch positions. FNL ended so well.
What is your favorite Book?
A Wrinkle in Time. I was all over that book as a kid. Brave New World is also a really good one.
What is your favorite Album?
Yikes. So right now the album I listen to all the way through the most is Alt-J’s “An Awesome Wave”. I just heard about them from my roommate and now I recommend them to everyone. You can’t go wrong with them. Other great albums to listen to straight through are The Black Key’s “Brother”. Broken Bells’ self titled album. Phantogram’s “Eyelid Movies”. I love Phantogram so much.
What is your idea of the perfect date?
A day long event. You wake up in the city and grab a super early breakfast at 6am from a family owned 24 hour diner before driving out the city. You drive upstate and then hike through some hilly forest and then through an abandoned, derelict train depot. You take a different route back to the car and find a pond that you go swimming in. You didn’t bring towels so you’re soaking wet as you drive back to the city. You have a really early lunch/dinner uptown at 4pm at a really fancy restaurant / wine bar in your wet hiking clothes where you can eat a full 4 course meal cause you’re so hungry from all the hiking and climbing. You share a bottle of wine. You’re drunk before everyone else just as it starts getting dark. You go up to the roof of this great restaurant and it’s a great view of Manhattan. You walk through just a section of Central Park, then walk all the way down to 14th street as the sun sets on the city. You’re sober now for an 8pm movie at IFC or East Village Cinemas or Angelika or the Quad or Film Forum that you haven’t seen any previews for but heard was good and decided to go to on a whim. And it’s the perfect movie for the two of you to see that night, and brings up all the things you’ve been hesitant to talk about till now. It’s 10 or 11 now. You get a couple of drinks at a West or East Village basement bar where there’s a live Jazz band playing. And the singer is really animated and tells amazing jokes in between the songs. So it’s sort of a comedy act and great music all rolled into one. And then you go back to her apartment around 2am and talk on her really comfortable bed, and she’s more drunk than you and falls asleep in your arms. So you tuck her in and then walk around her apartment a bit and get to admire everything she’s hung up on her walls- things you’d never hang on your walls, things you don’t even think are cool, but they are because they’re hers. And then you do some writing and drawing at her desk while she’s sleeping in her bed. And then she wakes up as the sun is just starting to rise. And you have really amazing morning sex, which finally tires you out and makes you realize how exhausted you actually are. And you both fall back asleep in the comfortable bed and wake up at noon.