Monday, April 06, 2015

I Interview Playwrights Part 732: Matthew Capodicasa


Matthew Capodicasa

Hometown: Scotch Plains, NJ

Current Town: New York, NY

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  My play, You Remind Me of You, is going up as my final production with the Fordham/Primary Stages MFA in Playwriting program, so I’ve been working on that pretty regularly.

I’ve been wanting to write a love story—a girl meets boy, etc., etc. kind of love story—for a long time. And then I started to read about face blindness, a condition where you are neurologically incapable of recognizing faces, even those of people you see and interact with every day. I thought that each of those things might be a way into writing about the other.

The play is about Adele, who dropped out of law school to take care of her father when he had an accident that caused him brain damage. She meets Vincent, a musician with face blindness. It’s really bad timing, but the two start to fall in love, and try to figure out what that means and what it demands of them and how they can maybe begin to make a life together.

I’m pretty excited for the production. We’re at the Flea Theater, and I’ve got the amazingly generous, insightful and formidable Sarah Krohn directing a fantastic and super smart cast, and a design team brimming with beautiful and intimidating ideas. I’m a very lucky, and anxious, person.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz when I was little, and maybe perhaps filled my imaginary world with people like Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion and the occasional post-witch Winkie. One day when I was maybe three years old, my dad took me for a ride into town in a little red wagon. We stopped for ice cream, sat outside for a bit to eat, and then it was back into the wagon for the ride home.

After a little while, I suddenly screamed, “Stop! We forgot Dorothy!” and demanded my father take us back to town. My dad dutifully turned around and pulled me back to go get her.

My fianceé loves this story.

I think the whole thing is actually mostly a credit to my dad, who was willing to just go with what was either a really involved bit or an early-onset personality disorder.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theatre, what would it be?

A:  I would make the ticket prices lower. A boring answer, I know. But important, I think.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Edward Albee, Annie Baker, Samuel Beckett, Georg Büchner, Chekhov, Caryl Churchill, Cusi Cram, Bathsheba Doran, Christopher Durang, Will Eno, Maria Irene Fornes, Melissa James Gibson, Amy Herzog, Naomi Iizuka, Rajiv Joseph, Sarah Kane, Tony Kushner, David Lindsay-Abaire, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Marsha Norman, Nick Payne, Sarah Ruhl, Jenny Schwartz, Shakespeare, Diana Son, Stephen Sondheim, Paula Vogel, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson.

I realize that I just spewed a gigantic list of writers I’m a fan of, and I have many theatrical heroes who are directors, designers, actors, producers, dramaturgs and teachers. But I figured I’d just go with writers here.

Q:  What kind of theatre excites you?

A:  I’m a fan of all kinds of theatre, honestly, but I really fall in love with plays that make beautiful, richly imagined worlds, and explore those worlds in theatrical, surprising ways. A theatre of language, of invention, of ridiculousness, of engagement, of diversity. Theatre that aspires to something. A humane theatre. Also, a really good fart joke goes a long way with me.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  As a playwright just starting out, I am wildly unqualified to answer this question. So I’ll just rattle off some of the things I try to tell myself: write every day, remind yourself you don’t know anything, read broadly, read generously, see as much as possible, find like-minded collaborators, strive for empathy, resist the urge to retreat and hide in your apartment, look for the joy in the crazy process of making something from nothing in dark rooms, floss.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Come see You Remind Me of You! April 16-19 at the Flea Theater!

Tickets are available here: http://yrmoy.brownpapertickets.com

Also, my 10-minute play, Of Our Own, is going up April 28-May 2 as a part of Theater Masters’ Take Ten Festival. My play will be directed by the awesome Margot Bordelon.

Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/take-ten-2015-national-mfa-playwrights-festival-nyc-tickets-16138886845

And come see the work of my fellow grad students in the Fordham/Primary Stages MFA program:

Mêlisa Annis’s United Front (http://unitedfront.brownpapertickets.com)

A double-bill of Alessandro King’s Aykroyd and Julian Giat’s Kid’s Choice (http://aykroydkid.brownpapertickets.com)

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