Monday, August 19, 2013

Spotlight On...Nathan Gregorski

Name: Nathan Gregorski

Hometown: Scottville, MI

Education: BA in Theater Performance from Western Michigan University

Favorite Credits:
Directing: Far Away (WMU), Mother Courage and Her Children (Asst. Director, WMU). Writing: The short film "Kin" (with co-writer Rachel Lambert, Distiller Films)

Why theater?:
I love stories. I love stories with magic and fantastical elements. And I love the challenge of telling these stories onstage with the limitations of live theatre. How can you make someone fly in a simple black box theater? How can you jump back and forth through time and space? How can you create the illusion of castles or forests or planets without the use of elaborate set pieces? It's part staging and it's part agreement with the audience. It is so exciting to have an audience say, "I know that actor is standing on a chair but he's telling me it's a mountain so I am going to agree that he is standing on a mountain." What's better than that?

Tell us about Orbiting Astral Bodies?: Orbiting Astral Bodies begins with the Moon's announcement that she is leaving planet Earth. She feels forgotten, unloved. She is tired of watching everything but having no part. So she decides to go off on her own. Luckily, the government is building a new silicon moon to replace her. Moon 2.0 will control the tides and record the months and light up the night, so no biggie, right? Depends which of the other five characters you ask. Mark opposes the Moon's leaving, going so far as to chain her to the Earth. Warren wants to go with the Moon in an effort to slow the passing of time so he can discover his true purpose. Meanwhile, Gillian is afraid of...everything. She collects travel books but won't get on a plane. And her friend Claire falls in love with Allen, the man of her dreams found in her dreams. But is he real or illusory? These interwoven stories explore characters seeking safety in a mad world and asking, "Can we replace something real with something fake?" Oh, and it's funny.

What inspired you to create Orbiting Astral Bodies?: Orbiting Astral Bodies came out of the typical post-collegiate wanderings and ponderings. I myself was in that limbo space of "What do I want to do with my life? Where do I want to go?" The world around me seemed to be in shambles, there was war, the economy was in the tank, then there was the oil spill in the gulf, and eventually Occupy Wall Street. There was a lot of shit going down (can I say "shit"?) and I felt pretty powerless in the big grand scheme. So I decided to write a play about the end of the world. But I wasn't concerned with the big-picture issues like the science of the moon leaving or the politics or the grand global reaction. I'm a fan of stories like Another Earth or The Road that explore big events from a microcosm. Like those stories, I wanted to follow a few characters as they struggled to accept (or curb) the oncoming new reality.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I enjoy theater that embraces the fact that it is theater. As theater artists we are given this wonderful opportunity to do things that can't be done on television or in cinemas and I love when a play takes that opportunity and runs with it. As an artist I'm inspired greatly by music, I listen to a lot of it while I'm writing. Also by other plays and I read a lot of books. I read a lot of news because truth really is stranger than fiction.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Matthew Weiner, the creator of "Mad Men". The man is a genius. I would kill to write an episode. And I would love to write a musical with singer/songwriter Josh Ritter.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The last show I went gaga over was The Other Place with Laurie Metcalf. God, that play. I saw it at the Lortell and when it came to Broadway I ran out to see it again. It was heartbreaking and beautiful and her performance was unbelievable. And that ending was like a knife in the heart no matter how many times you saw it. Top of my list to see at Fringe this year is Lula del Ray, a mix of puppetry, projections, live actors, and music set in the American West. I'm sold.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Lifetime Presents: Jason Priestly in "For Dear Life: The Nathan Gregorski Story". And I want Kellie Martin in it.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I love Taylor Swift. And please don't misunderstand me when I say that. Because I really do love her more than I can possibly tell you. We're talking album-on-repeat I-want-to-be-her-best-friend obsession.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I've been watching "Breaking Bad" and the meth business seems promising. That's gonna turn out okay for him, right?

What’s up next?: Currently I'm working on my first feature film with my co-writer, Rachel Lambert. I'm also working on my next play (it has to do with a game show) and I'm dabbling with some short stories.