Hometown: El Dorado , Arkansas
Current Town : Brooklyn , NY
Q: You're remounting your show “Fight Girl Battle World” which I caught last year and loved. Can you tell us a bit about that?
A: Every year, my company, Vampire Cowboys, sets out to take on a different genre. With “Fight Girl Battle World”, we took on Sci-fi. This was our version of something like “BladeRunner”, except funnier, with a laughably small budget, and more kung fu. The outcome ended up becoming one of our most popular shows we’ve ever produced. After we closed it last year, we worked on finding the right opportunity to bring it back. We were offered slots in several different festivals but ended up choosing to go with HERE Arts Center’s Sublet Series for several reasons; HERE is definitely one of my favorite venues in the city, it gave us the luxury of being in the space for an entire week, and Vampire Cowboys just produced “Soul Samurai” this past winter there and we’re going to be producing our next show “Alice In Slasherland” there next Spring. It made for the perfect place for a remount.
Q: Is it true it's your most popular show to date? Why do you think that is?
A: Well, it’s definitely between that or our most recent “Soul Samurai”. Both shows sold out really quickly and both received a ton of love by both press and our audience. “Fight Girl Battle World” however sells more t’shirts than any of our other productions to date and, even after a whole year, we still get people who randomly email us about how much they loved the original run. I think “Fight Girl” just tickles people in that right way that makes them want to come back. It appeals to that little nerdy kid inside all of us who dug “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, or “Firefly”. I dig it because it makes me laugh a lot. It’s perhaps the same for everyone else.
Q: Your plays contain a great deal of exciting and acrobatic fight scenes. Besides being the playwright, you are also the fight choreographer for many of your shows. Is it hard to be both the playwright and the fight choreographer but not the director?
A: Not really. I love writing and I love making fights. I however suck at helping actors explore moments and nuance. It’s just not a skill I have. I’m a bit too impatient for it. Robert who directs all my Vampire Cowboys shows is a master at this stuff, he can manipulate a scene to give it not only tension but texture. He’s good at exploring situations with actors and figuring how it’s all going work onstage. That’s what he enjoys. I however like writing cool dialogue and making people hit each other. It’s just a uniquely different skill-set.
Q: How did you become a playwright?
A: I originally wanted to be a novelist or a comic book writer and was pretty sure I was going to be that throughout undergrad even though I was an acting major at that time. However I started getting really frustrated that I kept getting cast either as the “stereotypical Asian” or none at all because of my race. So I started writing my own plays, shows that weren’t race or gender specific so anyone could play any role they wanted. That same ethos exists still today with my Vampire Cowboys plays. With the exception of “Soul Samurai”, all the other roles in all our other productions have all been racially neutral and we’ve been very conscious to make sure our company is as diversely cast as possible. People of color need superheroes and action stars too, so that’s what keeps me making the shows that I do. I like making heroes.
Q: Where can people go to buy your published plays?
A: Amazon, Drama Book Shop, and Playscripts.com. FGBW MOS LDID BW
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: All sorts. Anything written by living breathing playwrights. I don’t dig on the dead guys. Not cause I don’t appreciate what they did, I’m just tired of seeing a dead fucker like Shakespeare get literally thousands of productions a year while my friends struggle to get even one. That’s bullshit. My friends are better writers than that. They too deserve mad kudos.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Eat three meals daily, workout at least one hour a day, drink plenty of water, and smile.
Q: Link please and info for people who want to see "Fight Girl Battle World": http://www.vampirecowboys.com/shows.htm