Thursday, February 02, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 912: Brian Parks






Brian Parks

Hometown:  Birmingham, Michigan. Or Ann Arbor, if you want to start at the very beginning.

Current Town: Brooklyn, New York

Q:  Tell me about your upcoming show.

A:  “Enterprise” is a fast-paced, somewhat surreal comedy about four businesspeople trying to save their large company overnight. Aside from a stock price crisis, the company might have an imp eating the office supplies. “Enterprise”is 75 minutes long and told in many, many short scenes. The show, which is produced by Gemini CollisionWorks and happening at the Brick, reunites the team that did my play there last year, “The Golfer.” We were fortunate to win five Innovative Theatre Awards for that one. So we’re giving it all a whirl again. The piece is performed by Fred Backus, Adam Files, Derrick Peterson, and Alyssa Simon, and directed and designed by Ian W. Hill, assisted by Berit Johnson. Kaitlyn Day, who did the fun costumes for “The Golfer,” is suiting up this cast.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I’m looking forward to a new production of my play “The House” at the Human Race Theatre in Dayton. It premiered in 2014 at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, where it was a big success, and it’s also had a German-language production in Frankfurt. Plus a small production in London. Sitting around my apartment are the usual stack of two or three new pieces awaiting their next draft. Not sure which I’ll get back to first after “Enterprise.”

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

A:  My childhood has no real relevance to my writing today. The biggest inspiration for my own plays are the pleasure I’ve taken from writers like Preston Sturges and Tom Stoppard. The first play I ever saw and loved was “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” which may explain a few things.

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

A:  Ticket prices.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  “Heroes” is too fraught a word. How about writers I’ve liked? Mac Wellman, Richard Foreman, Maria Irene Fornes, Stoppard. Among contempo folks, people like Richard Maxwell and Will Eno. The two Philippe Quesne shows I’ve seen in recent years have been pretty great. Most of the Ivo van Hove shows I’ve seen.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The weird or funny stuff. Especially when combined, which is sort of what I do.

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

A:  Just don’t be boring. Also, you can’t sit back and wait for things to happen with your script. Find some collaborators and get the pieces up on their feet, even in a modest way. Also, prepare to drink alcohol on a regular basis.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  "Enterprise" runs February 2 -18. The Brick is located at 579 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, between Union and Lorimer, close to the G and L subway lines. Tickets are $18, and available at the door, bricktheater.com, or at 866-811-4111.


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