Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Spotlight On...David Mogolov
Hometown: Kansas City
Education: Boston University, Philosophy and Journalism
Favorite Credits: I can't help looking forward to the newest one. I learned so much from my last two comedies, There Is No Good News and Dumber Faster. I'm a far better writer and performer because of them. They got a great response, and I loved performing them, but my favorite is always the new one. I can't wait to start Eating My Garbage. It really is my favorite.
Why theater?: As a writer who performs his own work, it forces a certain intensity of focus. Knowing where I'm going to be (looking right into the audience's eyes) keeps me from cutting corners when I'm writing. I know what it's like to sit in an audience and not be swept up in the vision and humor of the show, and I don't want to be on the other end of that. Theater keeps me honest, and virtually, I write from that seat on stage now. I want to surprise and delight. I want people to be laughing. I love it.
Tell us about Eating My Garbage: A political pollster asked me about the future of America, and Eating My Garbage is an hour-long search for a reason to be optimistic. My gut response is a pretty negative one, but I can't quite bring myself to doom us on account of our current situation. What unfolds over an hour includes surprisingly relevant reflections on dental hygiene, home improvement, tribalism, and my longstanding fixation on the Subway sandwich chain.
What inspired you to create Eating My Garbage?: I fear an honest answer will keep people away, but here goes: I became fixated on the economic concept of externalities, the parts of our transactions that we don't pay for. Things like pollution, which are the result of specific activities, but which society at large picks up the tab for. It's such a fascinating topic, and one that, once you start thinking about it, turns up in a lot of places in American society. Ultimately, the show isn't about externalities, but it was a long reflection on the topic that got me started. It always seems to be that way with me: I'm convinced I'm writing about one thing, and then midway through, I realize, "Oh god. The heart of this thing is something else entirely."
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like to be surprised, and that can come from any type of theater, from children's theater to opera. Two examples, both coincidentally from Chicago. Years ago, I remember seeing this dance piece in Chicago that I had no expectations for. Literally, none: I sat down without any knowledge. And it was an amazing piece of satire. It's been a decade, at least, and I think of it regularly. It was the last thing I was expecting: gut-bustingly funny dance satire. Niki Lingren. She killed me. The other is an amazing puppeteer and playwright who I saw at a previous FRIGID festival, Joe Mazza. Funny, fascinating, utterly his own. To do something so idiosyncratic and smart and perfect as what Joe does would be a reward in itself. I strive for that.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to work with David Byrne.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I live in Boston, so my answers reflect that. Theater on Fire's Exit, Pursued By a Bear, most recently. A couple years ago, I was really struck by Actors' Shakespeare Project's Hotel Nepenthe.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Alan Tudyk would play me in "I'm Sorry, I Meant That To Turn Out Differently"
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Cheez-Its. My family eats so well. I cook good food from good ingredients. I love real food. I also love Cheez-Its. I hope if I'm not cremated, my casket is filled with Cheez-Its.
What’s the most played song on your iPod?: Girl Talk's "Smash Your Head." Makes sense: it's the first on my running mix and the first on my gym mix. Not at all what I was expecting to take the top spot!
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Podcasting, probably. As much as I'm a writer, there's something about performance where I know I'd be talking with my audience, not just giving them text.
What’s up next?: I'd really like to work with neuroscientists on the next show. I'd love to build a show around a full imaging of my brain. I've become fascinated with the complexity of the brain, and the limits of our knowledge around the organ that makes our knowledge. I don't know if it's the next step, but I'd love to do it.