April Newsletter 2014 Interview with John Patrick Bray
2. What made you want to join theatre?
I originally intended to be either a radio DJ or camera man for a local (upstate, NY) television station. I really loved the camera, but I hated editing. At the time, DCC didn’t have an Associates Degree for theatre, so I joined the drama club, Masquers’ Guild, as a stress release. I quickly became president and started producing and stage managing shows. It was a really wild experience. I then went to SUNY College at New Paltz and finished a B.S. in Drama. I had incredible teachers, just about all of whom are now retired. It was a solid program back in the day. At that point, I thought I’d want to be a director and actor. But writing kept on calling. I only applied to one MFA program, The Actors Studio Drama School at New School University, and was accepted. I liked the program because the playwrights were tasked to take a number of the same classes as/with the actors and directors. We had a common language. I kept writing, acting, directing. Eventually I started teaching as an adjunct. When I moved to Louisiana, I realized I wanted to earn a PhD. My wife was going for her PhD in Children’s Literature at UL. I applied to LSU and was accepted. Four years later, I graduated and now I’m teaching at UGA. To make a long story long!
3. How long have you been a part of the Athens theatre scene and What was you first theatrical experience in Athens?
I’ve been here almost three years. I knew I wanted to be somewhere with a playwrights’ workshop. Athens didn’t have one, so I immediately started one, the Athens Playwrights’ Workshop. We meet on alternating Mondays at UGA. Almost two years ago, I met with Lisa and we decided to make the RoA No Shame series focus on play readings. So, now Athens has a workshop geared toward the writer, and one geared toward the script. A bunch of these plays are starting to get produced (by students, elsewhere, etc.) It really is great to see how many people are hungry to create new work.
4. Where did Donkey come from?
The story is pretty personal, although the characters are entirely fictitious. I grew up next to a liberal arts college town, and spent my teen years hanging out in second-hand book stores and record shops. There was an independent coffee shop, and it went under when a certain corporate coffee shop rolled in. Then another indie shop opened; any chance of it lasting was shredded due to infighting and small-town politics. I was really bitter when I wrote the first draft. That was in 2006. I had just gotten married and moved to Louisiana, so it was kind of a love/hate letter.
But, with distance nostalgia kinda of took over, and so the story changed, the characters changed, and even my opinions of what happened and why changed. I grew to know and love each of these characters. There are now three indie coffee shops in that old town. I guess it’s a happy ending for everyone?
5. What other organizations have you worked with?
A bunch! lol Off-Off Broadway: Rising Sun Performance Company (my artistic home in NYC), At Hand Theatre Co., (re:)Directions Theatre Co., Rachel Klein Productions, Full Circle Theatre Co.; Other NYC: The Actors Studio, The New School for Drama Alumni Play Project; I’ve had shows with Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, Strawberry One-Act Festival, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival; all in great places: 78th St. Theatre Lab, Bowery Poetry Club, 440 Studios on Lafayette; in Louisiana I either worked with or wrote for the Performing Arts Society in Acadiana, The Dancing Project, Acadiana Repertory Theatre, HQ Rep., The Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff, I don’t mean to; I’ve been really fortunate to work with a number of great folks, and have my plays produced in NY and around the country.
6. What other aspects of theatre do you work in?
I’m a scholar, and have a handful of publications. I’m also an actor (Equity Membership Candidate). I haven’t acted in awhile. My life took a different direction. I have directed for different colleges, and sometimes freelance as a dramaturg.
7. What has been your BEST theatrical experience? WORST ? Most Humorous?
Best? Hard to nail down. They’ve all been great, from singing in kindergarten to Bray’s Plays at UGA. Worst? You know, I’ve learned just as much from my failures and misfires as I have learned from successes. They all go in the same basket. There are folks I love working with, there are folks who love working with me; there are folks I really couldn’t stand working with, and they couldn’t stand working with me. It’s all experience. As I tell my students, go where you’re loved. If people value your work, if people value your time, then that’s where you need to be.
8. Anything else you want to share?
I hope the folks in Athens enjoy Donkey as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Now come on down to a No Shame reading!
Season Ticket Scavenger Hunt!
The hunt is on! RoA Theatre is sponsoring a social media scavenger hunt to win a pair of Season 8 tickets. This includes two tickets to each show-ten tickets total! That’s a $164.00 value. Look for clues in our newsletter, on our website, on our Facebook pages, our Twitter page, our YouTube Channel, our Instagram profile and our Pinterest page. A collection of 10 clues will appear throughout the months of October, November and December. Find the clues and collect your answers to submit to firstname.lastname@example.org on December 1. The winner will be announced on December 3. May the brightest social butterfly win!
October Newsletter 2013 Interview with Dillon Nelson
Greetings! For those of you who read our newsletter, this is a continuation of an interview with RoA Company Member, Dillon Nelson. To see the full interview, sign up for our newsletter here.
3. How long have you been a part of the Athens theatre scene?
Although I wasn’t a resident of Athens until last year, I have been active in Athens Theatre since 2009 when I designed the set for RoAs Macbeth.
4. What was you first theatrical experience in Athens?
My first really in depth project with was with Rose during As you Like It in 2011. I had the wonderful opportunity to reprise my role as Silvius. I also designed our set for that production.
5. What other organizations have you worked with?
I have worked in a variety of places with a variety of titles. Most recently, with the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, the 21st CCLC program in Monroe, The Buford Community Center, and with Town and Gown here in Athens.
6. What other aspects of theatre do you work?
Aside from directing, I have experience in performance, design, set construction, teaching, and technical theatre.
7. What has been your BEST theatrical experience?
Its hard to choose my best experience in theatre. Each has been special in its own way, but I would have to say my performance as Dr. Franknfurter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show was one of my favorites. Never have I had experienced an audience response as vocal and as outwardly excitable as them. An audience with high energy creates a show with high energy.
8. Are you currently working on a production or theatre project?
Currently I am working with Town and Gown directing the Athens Premiere of Savoring the Brew: A Taste of Shakespeare’s Women. It opens October 25th.
9. Anything else you want to share?
This quote from Bob Baker: “When you go to the theater, you pay your admission and you watch a show, with really nothing but a piece of paper in your hand. But you take a home the idea that goes on that stage. The illusion, the fantasy, the love, the drama, the music and you’ll always have it. You’ll have it forever.”
10. What are you most excited about this Season with Rose?
The opportunity to work on such a classic story that is near and dear to so many people and being able to introduce the joy of live performance to actors and audiences that might call Charlotte’s Web their first theatrical experience.