Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kamikaze: The Pre-funk Interviews Part 3: Opal Peachy

I'm not a fan of the three-dot ellipsis. You disagree, dear reader, because you can see in the last two posts that I use them a lot to convey pauses and trailing thoughts... etc. And, for the record, I know a proper ellipsis is three dots and there shouldn't be a space after. I do! I don't know what it is, but personally? I think two dots and a space are just more aesthetically pleasing. Three dots imply a much longer lull at the end of the thought than I ever intend. I don't want you hanging there forever. Just.. briefly. And then move on. See? I don't need a pause you can drive a truck through. Don't you have things to do? Because I do. Yes, it's grammatically incorrect, but I'm making a stylistic choice to be wrong. So from here on out, it's all about style.. and if you'll grant me that, I'll do my best to make everything else as grammatically correct as possible - no guarantees after the keg tap though - especially if Megan has stashed away some red wine.

Speaking of style, the lovely Opal Peachy met up with Truman and me to continue the 14/48 pre-funk series of artist chats. I'd never met her before (how is that possible?), but we had a lovely time picking her brain over drinks earlier this week.

You'll have to forgive me for not knowing your primary focus. I'm assuming it's performing, right? And if so, for how long?

"I graduated from Cornish in 2004 and have been working pretty consistently since. I had this idea that I'd write, direct and act, you know, do my own shit, but that's not a good idea for anyone. So I did an internship at Seattle Shakes, but I was really interested in new plays. I stage managed, assistant directed and did that for five or six years. Then I worked with WET for a long time and Circus Contraption. Really I’m a backdoor actor [I mention she shouldn't say it quite that way and we laugh]. No, I'm a shoot off of Circus Contraption. It was great because they eventually wrote parts specifically for me. That was for six years and now I get to pick the projects I want and things are starting to pay. But originally, becoming a director came out of wanting to have an effect on the type of theater I was doing. So I pitched something to Annex, this was seven years ago,  and it was rejected. I was soooo devastated. It was my baby. So I emailed Shawn at CHAC, wanted to get my shit out there, asked if he could please help me because I wanted to direct and then I got invited to the next three 14/48’s. That got me a lot of work afterwards."

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

"I believe I’ve been invited six times, this will be my fourth or fifth I've been able to do."

What’s your favorite thing about it?

"My favorite thing would have to be the draw, which is why this one is so exciting. I’ve participated as a director before so this will be my first time shaking it up a little bit. I've now got three years of performance under my belt so I’d like to get on stage as an actor. That'd be great if that could happen. But when you’re a director, you know there’s that frantic feeling before the actors get there and then once the actors are drawn.. like I lucked out with one actor in one of my casts. The play was about Elvis and Jesus going against each other in a poker tournament and I got Ahren Buhmann who looks just like Jesus and I thought, 'YES! This is going to work!' As a 14/48 virgin it’s the thrill of 'Ok now it’s really happening' and your mind has to work a million miles a minute.. or in the second show, because the first one is essentially a dress rehearsal, so when it comes together on both days for both shows, it feels great. I had one weekend of two fantastic plays and I got a lot of work out of that because a lot of people saw it and everything just gelled. Though you always get to see that for somebody. Or is fate going to be on someone else's side this time? It’s rolling the dice."

What’s the hardest part?

"As a director, the tech. You only get 20 minutes and, for example, I had one show that was really successful with the band. And the next night, we needed more actor rehearsal time, but I had too many sound cues and had to keep moving and one of the stage managers was really yelly.. probably Lou or Dante.. yeah.. let’s blame Dante.. she’s in New York anyway." [She adds that Dante is amazing, as well as Lou by the way. We aren't here to burn any bridges people. It's all love.]

You haven't done anything but directing at 14/48 then, right?

"Right, so I hope to have a new favorite discipline this time though I feel very comfortable directing. It’s just one of those things too.. my hand’s still in the game, but when it’s been a while, you wonder if you still have it."

So you hope to pull an acting role out of the Kamikaze hat? 

"Yeah, I'd like to show off my chops with this amazing group of veteran artists. I feel like I know most of them and I’ve been working my ass off so I'd like to showcase that. And then there’s the band card. I have a lot of ideas doing the director stuff but when it comes to writing stuff down for another director, and the band, I mean I can write a lyric or harmony. I’ve got recorder, I’ve got a kazoo. I have white person rhythm. I have a white person clap. Troy Lund and I did a show together and all I had to do was clap. He's like, 'You realize you’re on the downbeat..'"

What discipline are you nervous about getting?

"The design card and the music card though playwriting would be such an exciting idea, the golden ticket, but every 14/48 you hope you don’t get the bad play where you got nothing really at all. I remember Evan Mosher got one and it ended up being a play about not having a play. In a situation where everyone knows it’s not good, it's really scary. But there are things you just have no control over. Someone in the cast has to go home sick or someone else you're relying on is a bit hungover. I like the butterflies though. You’re scared of them but you know the weekend will rock. A beautiful weekend locked in with beautiful people."

Locked in?

"Yeah, because nobody’s leaving. [We all laugh] But I’ve definitely been the one hitting the keg from the beginning and then by the second day, it’s basically wearing pajamas and we’re all ready to dig in, but a bit more comfortably. And you see people and everyone is doing really well. If you’re drawn as an actor and they’re kicking ass you wonder if you have the same intensity. You want to do as good of a job as they're doing."

Truman asks if she's assigned to write, if there's a danger she'll write the 'serious' play of the night.

"Sure! Yes! Ooh like an insane asylum! I know the drama of the night can be awful, but in a series full of comedies you need some serious stuff. At three in the morning you have to know people are going through some dark shit."

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

"I guess I’m excited to work with the 10% I don’t know, meet some new people, be surprised. Shane Regan I love. Jose! Oh I love that man. Paul Mullin. I just adore his plays. Really I'd just like to see another one. I was at ACT one year and he had several different actors all playing him. It was fucking hilarious. I mean, he has hits and misses. He’s not great all the time [Nudge, nudge, wink, wink]. No, but you remember the folks who just kill it. I didn’t look to see if they listed the advisors. I was hoping if I'm drawn as a writer to be able to talk to Scot Auguston on the phone at 3am or have coffee in the morning with one of them. Ooh! Celene Ramadan! She’s so gorgeous. I’d love to see her on stage. Specifically one that requires nudity. You can write that down. We’re not friends, but I’ve directed one of her plays and everyone loved the shit out of it. It had to do with boners. 14/48 is a great opportunity to be thrown together, even if you’re not necessarily in the same theatrical circles. Because outside of the festival, you find a group you go places with and you might stick with them, but at same time, you can’t work with everyone you'd like to. So this is great and it's summer. Everyone is ready to play and the audience - it’s packed. It’s a really good feeling."

On Saturday night at 1am, when the last show is over, what do you think you'll take away from this experience?

"I’ll take away a big hangover is what I’ll take a way. That and a few phone numbers I hope. Not in a dirty way."

A popular way? [More laughing]

"Of course! Like you make new friends, read the blog and check in how you’re in the midst of everything, if you made it in and what you said that did. I love the little extras.. checking the photos. If you have downtime, I’ll check it out to spy on the other artists and see where they’re at, where the night’s going. Do we have three plays that end with a dead baby? Oooh! And the theme! Another nerve-wracking thing! I've got to start googling ideas."

I think she was buttering up our blogging/photography team a little and we happily absorbed it. But she got us thinking about the theme too! What theme will YOU put into the Cone of Destiny? Do you know yet? ONE MORE DAY! Oooooh! The butterflies are catching!

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