|l to r: Sean Patrick Monohan, director Charlie Polinger, James Presson|
Theater in the Now proudly presents
SEAN PATRICK MONAHAN and JAMES PRESSON vs. JAMES LIPTON
Yesterday, Less Than Rent Theatre’s Sean Patrick Monahan and James Presson sat down with legendary interviewer James Lipton to talk about their new play, Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man, which runs April 3-27 at The Kraine Theater on E. 4th Street.
JAMES LIPTON: What gave you the idea to write this play?
JAMES PRESSON: Well, we were rehearsing Sean Patrick’s one-man show, which I directed-
SEAN PATRICK MONAHAN: The award-winning solo musical DIVA.
JP: Right. And we were talking about how that was Less Than Rent’s ninth production, and we were trying to wrap our heads around the fact that whatever we did next would be our company’s tenth.
JP: Exactly. So we wanted to go all out, and do a big show.
SPM: A spectacular, if you will.
JP: Fine. And we started talking about Less Than Rent’s aesthetic and the idea of cultural mash-up that our company’s sort of known for.
SPM: And then we made the connection to John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, which did just that, but for a mid-eighteenth century audience in Great Britain.
JP: So, we realized that we wanted to pursue an adaptation of The Beggar’s Opera and that the character of Macheath would lend himself really well to an American setting. We spent an entire weekend outlining the show and coming up with the insanely intricate plot.
SPM: And here we are. Like Harry and Sally. But not at Katz’s Deli.
JP: I’m gonna kill you.
JL: Often people say that they “co-wrote” a play. How collaborative was this process? How did you delegate responsibilities?
JP: Well, Sean Patrick does all of the work, and I pay for the take-out. Haha.
SPM: That is true.
JP: Dude, I was joking.
SPM: Oh. Haha. Me too. Haha.
JL: How did you discover each other as writing partners?
JP: I’m married! I can’t answer that!
SPM: You’re making me blush…
JP: Next question, please.
JL: How does the Brecht estate feel about this play?
SPM: What I will say is that Brecht was so opposed to the idea of intellectual property that he published several poems by Rudyard Kipling under his own name simply because it amused him. But we don’t infringe on Brecht’s work anyway.
JL: I think we should move on. How did you come up with eighty-six characters? How did you choose?
SPM: Well, it was a pretty complex process—
JP: It was completely random.
JL: Who’s the most likely to be offended by your play: the President of a Book Club, a Key Club, or a Strip Club?
JP: Our cast is very attractive. A strip club president would be disappointed that there isn’t more nudity.
SPM: Yeah, there’s an Equity thing where—
JP: Don’t be boring.
JL: If you had to assign the play a high school yearbook superlative, what would it be?
SPM: I would give it the same superlative I received in my high school yearbook my freshman, sophomore, AND junior year: Most Original. Also the superlative I received in my senior year: Most Likely To Be Seen On Broadway.
JP: Class car.
JP: Or best hair.
SPM: Most likely to succeed.
JL: What’s it like working with star actor Tom Sanchez? I hear [REDACTED]. Is that really true?
JP: Well, I’m not supposed to talk about this James, but for you… Haha… So the thing about [REDACTED].
JL: Wow! That is really insightful. It makes me really want to see the show!
SPM: That’s great, James Lipton! We can’t wait to see you there.
Tickets for Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man and more information about Monahan and Presson can be found at www.lessthanrent.org.