Monday, March 08, 2010

I Interview Playwrights Part 127: Terence Anthony



Terence Anthony

Hometown:
Vancouver, British Columbia. 
 
Current Town:
Los Angeles, California. 
 
Q:  Tell me about your play Blood and Thunder now up at Moving Arts.
 
A:  About three years ago I started thinking about the script that would become Blood and Thunder. Like a lot of people, I was outraged about the indifference and incompetence of the Bush administration in how they handled the situation in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. What happened in New Orleans really was a man-made disaster. I'd been researching the crazy things that happened in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, and there were so many unbelievable stories. But I didn't want to write a typical "oh, the poor victims of this tragedy" kind of play. I came across a testimonial of a man who chose to stay for the storm -- he was actually looking forward to the challenge. And that's when the story clicked for me and the characters started to form. Blood and Thunder is about three con-artists trapped by their past. who are unwillingly brought together because of Hurricane Katrina.

This is the first production of one of my full-length plays and I feel very lucky. Because it was produced by my home theatre Moving Arts, we were able to workshop it and have a long rehearsal process. There were a few bumps, but the most important elements came together just right. I shake my head at all the crazy-talented people working on this production. Sara Wagner is the smartest director I know, and Keith Bolden, Tony Williams and Candice Afia are so amazing, I couldn't ask for a better cast. It's paid off -- we've had good reviews and the show's been extended four times now, I think.
 
Q:  What else are you working on?
 
A:  I'm always working on something. I'm sending out two other plays I've written. One takes place in a dive bar, the other in Cuba. And I'm currently writing a sci-fi play. I'm also developing a comic book series. And in all my spare time, I'm working on season two of my animated web series Orlando's Joint.
 
Q:  Tell me about Orlando's Joint.  Where can I see it?
 
A:  Watch it at www.orlandosjoint.com! It's an animated series I created. It's pretty edgy, and real incorrect in its humor. It's about a slacker pothead and his crazy homies who run a coffee shop in south L.A. I learned to animate just to do this project, and it's great what you can get away with when it's cartoons doing outrageous shit. Orlando's Joint has built up a pretty good online cult following, and there's some possibilities hovering around that may allow me to take it a bigger audience. But it's very cool to put something out online that can be seen by people all over the world. More people have seen Orlando's Joint than will ever see my plays. 
 
Q:  What theaters or shows would you recommend someone new to LA check out?
 
A:  Moving Arts, of course! Especially if Blood and Thunder is still running. I love the Fountain Theatre. Always good stuff going on there, and they consistently do plays with actual black folk in them! I keep up with what's going on at The Blank, and Elephant Theatre Company. Shout out to the Robey Theatre and Company of Angels, yo! There's a lot more good theatre in L.A. than most people realize. 
 
Q:  What kind of theater excites you?
 
A:  Anything that takes a chance. I like plays that are PLAYS -- stories that are crafted in a way that embraces the possibilities of what can be done on a stage with flesh-and-blood actors performing in front of a room full of people. 
 
Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
 
A:  Stick to writing children's musicals, that's where all the cash is. And, find a good smart group of writers to learn the craft with. Emphasis on GOOD and SMART. There's too many writer's groups and classes that don't fit that description. I've been a part of Lee Wochner's Words That Speak workshop since I started writing plays, and the feedack and support I've gotten from Lee and the other playwrights who are part of it has been invaluable.
 
Q:  Plugs please:

A:  Blood and Thunder has been extended again, it's running until March 28th. For info check out the Moving Arts site www.movingarts.org. After that we're hoping to take the production to other cities, especially New Orleans.

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