Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spotlight On...Joe Curnutte

Name: Joe Curnutte

Hometown: Mahomet, IL

Education: BAs in Theatre, Secondary Education, English - Cornell College

Favorite Credits:
writer/actor with The Mad Ones: Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War and The Tremendous Tremendous. writer/actor with The Plastic Theatre: Unnatural Acts: Harvard’s Secret Court of 1920, lead actor:  The Earth Day Play, Lincoln Trails Elementary School, 1992

Why theater?:
It is probably a combination of an undeniable desire to entertain people and being totally preoccupied with nostalgia - for times in my own life and for times I have never experienced. Isn’t there something weird and nostalgic about being at a live event and the lights go down and there are people pretending it is a different place and time and everyone is agreeing in the entire building is agreeing on it?  The answer is yes, it is super weird.

Tell us about The Essential Straight & Narrow?:
Alright.  So.  In late October, 1974 a country/folk rock trio is embarking on a complicated reunion tour.  Complicated because the two lead vocalists used to be a thing and haven’t seen each other since the band split up.  Something happens on the road and they are forced into a little ghost town motel in New Mexico for a few days.  They spend Halloween there.  Stuff comes up (emotions and what have you), they play $10,000 Pyramid, make Dia de los Muertos masks, and rehearse some music.  And the whole thing is framed in a very interesting way…

What inspired you to create and act in The Essential Straight & Narrow?:
The aforementioned nostalgia for times not experienced - in this case the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The Patti Smith book "Just Kids". The unconsummated and tragic love story of Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. Country, Country Rock and Folk music. Alfred Hitchcock movies. The Jane Fonda + Donald Sutherland movie Klut.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Highly detailed and precise work speaks to me.  The genre of the piece doesn’t matter so much as the attention to detail.  As for my inspiration as an artist, my fellow company members inspire the shit out of me.  Marc’s creativity, Michael’s music, Stephanie’s truth through clowning, and Lila’s razor sharp mind.  But also Johnny Carson.  I find him highly inspirational.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Garrison Keillor.  You may think I am joking but I am 100% serious.  I wasn’t joking about Johnny Carson either.  I have seen Mr. Keillor live twice and I think he is the greatest living storyteller.  I based my character in Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War after him and paid him homage by wearing red socks as part of my costume.  I wish I could be one-tenth as interesting as that man.

What show have you recommended to your friends?
: Casa Valentina, which features beautiful performances all around, especially by Mr. Nick Westrate.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: You stumped me.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Pizza and beer.  Or a salt bagel if it’s the morning.

What’s the most played song on your iPod?: Currently, "Roll ‘em Easy" by Little Feat

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A football coach/novelist/longshoreman

What’s up next?:
Working on a project with another artistic associate of mine called Cape Rep and as for The Mad Ones, we have a show planned for the 2015-16 season but I don’t think I am at liberty to say where just yet.  Stay tuned.

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