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1100 Playwright Interviews

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Nov 15, 2013

I Interview Playwrights Part 619: Christian Levatino

Christian Levatino

Hometown: West Haven, Ct.

Current Town: Los Angeles, Ca.

Q:  Tell me about Sunny Afternoon.

A:  Sunny Afternoon is my contribution to the Kennedy assassination, an event that has fascinated me since my single digit years. It is a look at the 46 hours that Lee Harvey Oswald was in the custody of Dallas homicide captain Will Fritz. Sunny Afternoon is the first sequence in my playbook G-BOY//THE J. EDGAR HOOVER PENTALOGY - a look at the power and corruption of J. Edgar.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I am currently directing Sunny Afternoon @ The Asylum Theatre in Hollywood, putting the finishing touches on a music video that I directed for Matt Mann and The Shine Runners as well as working on the follow up to Sunny Afternoon a two-act play entitled Black Bag Job (the second sequence in G-BOY).

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'm always looking out for the party. I've never wanted to ruin anyone's enjoyment. At the age of six, I broke my arm at a family picnic. I didn't tell anyone because I knew it would stop the party and I remember everyone was having fun. One of my earliest memories that still has much detail, I believe I was two years old and I attempted to shave with my father's razor. Very bad idea. I cut my lower lip open pretty bad. I was unsure what to do, but I knew this wasn't good. I crept downstairs and saw my folks watching television. They seemed to be enjoying the program and that made me happy, so I went back upstairs, grabbed some tissues and a green bucket. I put the tissues on my lip, the bucket over my head, handle against my neck like a chin strap and went to bed.

I've been looking out for the audience for awhile. ;)

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

A:  I would make the consequences for bad theatre - extremely severe. Perhaps bring tomato throwing back? Or face punches? That'd be cool. Bad actors get jumped when they get off stage.

‘Were theatre a tightrope where no incompetent would dare to tread’
- Goethe

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Orson Welles with The Mercury Theatre Company and Woody Allen. I'll throw Stanley Kubrick in as well even though he directed no theatre, you'd never know that from his films however. All three trust in their writing and let the actors do their thing in a wide shot. I love that. They brought theatre to film for me. Write good dialogue and get great actors to speak it.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Original, passionate, focused, provocative, unapologetic - speed & fucking violence. Let me add comfortable actors, I despise strained, forced or muggy acting. Ensembles that blaze make me smile.

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

A:  WORKSHOP or be BULLSHIT. You must be willing to collaborate and know when another idea is better than your own. Have an ego when your kid's hitting home runs for Varsity not when he's playing tee-ball.

And NEVER be satisfied.

Q:  Plugs, please: 

A:  Come see Sunny Afternoon running unil 12/01. Black Bag Job will be workshopped at The Asylum Lab at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in June of 2014.
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1 comment:

Ian Thal said...

I would make the consequences for bad theatre - extremely severe. Perhaps bring tomato throwing back? Or face punches? That'd be cool. Bad actors get jumped when they get off stage.

I do agree that bad theatre should not get a free pass the way it often does, but as a theatre critic who is also a theatre-maker, I feel that the actors are the last people to blame for bad theatre (unless they are playing double duty as a producer, playwright, or director.)

Bad (or more often than not, miscast) actors, are in their position due to decisions made by the director and producers. If there is ever a single person to blame for a bad play or bad production, it is usually either the director or the playwright.

Save your tomatoes and beat-downs for them.