Thursday, July 13, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 964: Buffalo Bailey Williams




Buffalo Bailey Williams

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Current Town: Willfully unincorporated county recently seceded from the US of A, 45 minutes outside of Manhattan by horseback

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I am preparing to tour my 90 minute time share presentation along the Eastern seaboard. I have a small ranch that I own legally, it’s staffed by predominantly gay horses and doubles as a rehabilitation clinic for troubled teen girls. It’s called Buffalo Bailey’s Ranch for Gay Horses, Troubled Teen Girls and Other: A 90 Minute Time Share Presentation because I am straightforward, what you see is what you get, Buffalo shoots straight, I am 99% business and 1% fluid. I have a singular goal and it is to sell time share properties to American human adults hungry for escape and excellent deals. By the end of those 90 minutes, not only will each and every adult receive a gift basket, they will also be filled with an overwhelming and insatiable desire to net some crawdads, dive into a swimming hole, muck out a pig pit, and boogie at the Discobarn til the wee-est hours of the ranchy morn. That’s the Buffalo Bailey Guarantee. Just bring your human body, a credit card, and a state ID or similar form of identification. No minimum or maximum on those credit scores, cowboys and cowbutts. We trust you.

Otherwise, I have a few low key ladderwork type projects afoot, including shingle replacement, jacuzzi installation, I’m building a bath for my dog, and the margarita machine is busted again from enthusiastic and extended hyperusage. Manual labor, managing the daily trauma on my boot calluses, an honest day’s labor. Etc.

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

A:  When I was 7, my dad took me to Indian Princess Camp, which is both racist and sexist but that’s the YMCA for you. I had extremely thick bangs and only two teeth that were set at alternative angles. I was forced to participate in activities and the horse I was riding took a massive dump whilst I was onboard his stinky back. Later, a group of infants tossed a giant inflatable ball around a soccer field and when I tried to join, the inflatable ball landed on my terrible bespectacled child face and maimed me permanently. That day my appendix began slowly ballooning with rage and bile. It exploded 12 years later at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. Near death, reflecting upon my life and my choices, it occurred to me that there were only two important things in this life: owning property and making as much non-taxable cash as humanly possible. Everything else just came naturally after that.

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

A:  Excellent question. Most theater is extremely unprofitable and this is unacceptable. It needs to be completely reinvented. Structurally speaking, theaters should fit more seats in the space. Pay off fire inspectors and get rid of aisles. Really pack them in. Then raise the prices, add some hidden fees. Oh, you bought a seat? But did you buy the seat cushion? The seat cushion is an extra $30 US American Dollars. Add some BS security measures, like “no water bottles.” Confiscate everyone’s water bottles and sell branded water bottles for at least $5 US American Dollars. Turn off the air conditioning in the summer and sell fans, or better yet, sell access to premium air conditioned seats for double the price of regular. Did you bring a bag to the theater? Did you wear a coat? Sorry, no bags or coats in the theater. But coat/bag check is over there, for the low, low price of $10/bagcoat. Go the extra mile and carpet the house for “artistic reasons,” then open up a mandatory shoe check for $5/shoe. Make masks mandatory for “artistic reasons” and charge for the masks. Charge for the bathroom. $1 for number one, $2 for number two. Open the house thirty minutes late every evening and lock your audience in the lobby bar. Crank up the heat and charge for tap water. Rent out lobby displays to corporations who love advertising. Make it physically impossible for your audience to leave the theater without spending an extra $100 out of pocket. And overbook everything. Not everyone shows up for the theater, especially if it’s a play. People don’t even like plays! Double book every seat, make it General Admission, then arrest everyone who complains about it. You’re in with the fire inspectors, remember?

And don’t pay your staff or your artists, but I think theater already does that.

Q:  Who are or were your heroes?

A:  In no particular order: this incredible performer and his lip sync of “I Will Always Love You” somewhere in the Philippines, my ex-gastroenterologist Dr. Meira Abramowitz, the fine folks over at Potato Parcel, Timber Tina and her lumberjacks and jills, that remix of Cooking by Book with Lil Jon that everyone loves, Jenessa from Bridalplasty, Kirstie Alley in It Takes Two, the entire film of Center Stage, the entire film of Purple Rain, the song “Gloria” by Laura Branigan, the iPhone application “Clue” that tracks your menstrual cycle, all seltzer-based beverages, and a supplement called L-Glutamine that has changed my entire life. I also like Sibyl Kempson and my friend Derek’s impression of his mom.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Any kind performed on rollerblades.

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

A:  I wouldn’t, but if you must I would also advise developing other skills. For instance, carpentry, sailing, paid protesting, graphic design or white collar crime. Sure, you might one day make enough cash from playwriting to exist almost comfortably on planet Earth, but most of it will be seawater by then and you’re going to need some health insurance to effectively fight off the scurvy.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Buffalo Bailey’s Ranch for Gay Horses, Troubled Teen Girls and Other: A 90 Minute Time Share Presentation will make its first stop at Barn Arts Collective in Maine on August 4 and 5. We’ll be in New York, location TBA, this January.

Come to our Fundraiser.


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