Monday, August 6, 2012

Kamikaze: The Pre-funk Interviews Part 1: Trick Danneker

Since we are using the word kamikaze to describe this summer's first weekend of 14/48 and it has absolutely nothing to do with Japanese fighter pilots, we're left with its slang definition meaning, 'So reckless in behavior or actions as to be suicidal.' Oh yeah, it's on.

Buckle up kids! This installment of 14/48 is going to be an absolutely thrilling ride.

If you're reading this blog, you most likely already know and/or have experienced the magic and madness of a 14/48 festival. 14 original plays in 48 hours? Pfft! No problem! But Kamikaze 14/48 will be unique in that instead of inviting artists to specific disciplines, every single 14/48 veteran invited will randomly draw the discipline in which they'll participate: actor, director, writer and even the 14/48 band. Nervous for them yet?

Truman Buffett, who'll be the talented photographer for my posts, came up with the idea of chatting with some of the veteran artists making up the roster for the upcoming festival before it begins. Four of them generously caved into pressure gave up a little of their time to provide us with some insight about themselves, their experience in Seattle theater and 14/48.

We first met with Trick Danneker who has the best name on the planet in this writer's opinion. When I first heard his name a few years ago, I thought he was Jason Harber's invisible friend because he was never in the room when he was mentioned. Trick said there are, in total, three (THREE?!) Trick Dannekers. Lucky bitches.

"Teri Lazarra is the first. In the first 14/48 I participated in, I had to find Shawn Belyea because my name tag was missing. He told me to find Teri since she’d been walking around with it because she thought it was a cool name. The second person is Matt Richter who asked me at another 14/48, 'Trick, when you die can I have your name?’ and I said, 'Sure!' so it's now officially bequeathed though I'll feel badly if I get any future requests."

How many times have you been invited to participate in 14/48?

"Five as an actor/participant and probably another six as a volunteer. I’ve done something in one way or another for almost every single one. 2008 I was in a show and last summer I didn’t do the Battle of the Sexes because I was out of town. And winter of 2009. [Counting on both hands] That’s 14 so I’ve been absent for three so yeah, 11."

What’s your favorite thing about 14/48?

"I think the best part is the sense of community you get. It cuts thru all the b.s. of theater politics. You can not be pissed about anything at 14/48. You show up, you get your job and you do it. You can’t be pissed about what director didn’t cast you or hasn’t called you for the last three auditions because you don’t have time to think about that even if they’re across the table from you. You’re here to do this right here, right now. It just brings together so many aspects of the community. Jerry Manning has directed, George Mount, Rita Giomi - these people who have prominent positions in major theaters will participate gladly and willingly."

What’s the hardest part?

"I think the hardest thing is - how to put this - is saying no or wanting to say yes, but not being able to. When you get into the room and whomever’s involved - actor/director/designer - and they have this really great idea for this particular show... but it’s just not going to work. You don’t have the time or resources and you have to just say so. And everyone wants to say yes yes yes and it’s so difficult to say no, which doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it’s even worse. Besides from that, the memorizing puts pressure on everyone. You want to give your fellow actors as much as you can, but you also need to be sure to take as much. I think a good performance should give 90% and take 10% and if everyone does that, you have a pretty symbiotic relationship. I think it’s a good idea for marriage too - not that I know anything about that."

What discipline do you hope to pull from the draw of the Kamikaze hat?

"I’d really love to do anything. As far as like peace of mind, I’d love to be an actor. It’s simple, it’s what I’ve done and what I know. And the best part about this is the odds are in your favor to be an actor. You basically have a 50% chance, which is the highest odds you can ask for. I’ve no idea what I would want to do. I think everything else is about even other than designer because I’ve done it." 

Which would you like the least?

"So I play a little piano and I can sing, but I feel the band is so epic and they’re always so good. I don’t think I have that kind of skill. I’d come into it with arms wide open, whatever you want me to do. If you don’t want me to play keys that’s fine. I’ll sing and play the tambourine, which is harder than you think. It’s frightening. But here’s the other way I look at it - if you’re in the band, someone’s already written songs. You just have to learn how to play or perform it. If you’re the writer, there’s nothing other than your imagination. If you don’t write any words, there's no festival. I think being a writer would be really daunting. I haven’t written anything I’d freely admit to. I think anyone in theater has some sort of document or script in a file somewhere, but we know better than to let them see the light of day. I don’t even think I know how to write a comedy. I don’t know that I have anything funny to write or that I have a funny way of saying things. But I’ve also been in the 'serious' play at 14/48 - there’s usually one, maybe two. And I’d be so afraid of being that guy. [As if he was the actor who's assigned to the play he wrote] 'Oh damn it’s about suicide. Yeah it’s poignant... I don’t know what he was thinking but now I have to rape my daughter and kill my,' you know, 'Thanks Trick.'"

Still, he admits he's hesitant to say there's something he doesn't want to do.

"The second you put into the universe that there's something you don't want to be a part of, the 14/48 gods will chuckle, reach their hands into that hat and pull out that discipline for you. I think the best answer to the question is that no matter what I get, I'll work my ass off not to let anybody down."

Of the veterans chosen for this 14/48, who are you dying to work with?

"Hmm. I haven’t worked with many of them actually. Ben McFadden, Hana Lass, Basil Harris... Basil's a genius. He’s one of those quadruple threats. He’s one of those guys, if I get in the band, I hope to God he’s in the band too. He’s just a born leader. But I think anyone on that list. It’s such an eclectic group."

So on Saturday night, at the end of the last show, what do you think you'll take away from all this?

"That the words of George McFly are true: You can do anything if you set your mind to it. The thing about it is it’s terrifying and it will be done. It will happen. That’s the only thing you have going forward. However frightened you are, you‘re going to do it. There’ll be people who are out of their comfort zone, there’ll be people who are right in their wheelhouse and there’ll be varying degrees of that, but no matter what you end up doing, it will get done." 

With no truer words spoken, we parted ways with our dashing friend, began to pack up and ran into Ryan Higgins who appropriately responded when asked why he wasn't listed on the roster as well.

"I’ve not been so upset to not be able to do something in a very long time."

We didn't blame him. We're friggin excited... aren't you?!

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