Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spotlight On...Lucas Kavner

Name: Lucas Kavner

Plano, TX

Education: Middlebury College

Favorite Credits: As an actor: The Blue Flower (A.R.T), Barnes & Noble: Frisco, TX (Ars Nova), Stephen King and John Mellencamp's Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. Writer: Fish Eye at HERE

Why theater?: You sound like my uncle. Because it pays so well, OK?! I often ask myself this question and struggle with the answer. On one hand: it's staggeringly overpriced, the developmental process is endlessly frustrating, TV is really entertaining right now, and you're constantly competing with plays about old, rich white people in summer homes. But on the other hand it's provided me with some of the most exhilarating live experiences of my life, and my participation in it over the years has influenced me hugely. The process of working on a good play is still the greatest feeling, and seeing something great onstage can be so much more affecting than anything else in the world. So I guess that's an important question to keep asking ourselves.

Tell us about Carnival Kids: The play's about a Southern guy, a former rock musician, who decides to upend his mostly broken life in Texas and move in with his adopted son in Manhattan to start anew. Early in his time there, he gets involved with a legally questionable money-making project with his son's weirdo roommate and shit gets craaaaazy. It's a New York play with none of the ingredients of a New York play I'd seen before. Also there's SEX in it.

What inspired you to write Carnival Kids?: It was mostly borne out of a single image: I was doing laundry in my building's basement one day, and a guy in his 20s was down there with his father, who had presumably moved in for a short while, and they were separating their clothes together. That really stuck with me. At the time I was working on another show with a lot of professional blues and country musicians and I found them to be some of the most interesting and honest people I'd ever met, even though their "personal lives" were usually kind of a mess by our standards. But they were so authentically and sincerely themselves. I wanted to write something with their energy in mind.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love plays that don't go where you think they will. I hate things that are too clean or overwritten or plot-heavy. Any time I see the writer's writing onstage, when a character is too consciously well-spoken, I immediately tune out. Early on I tried really hard to always write to the left of what the characters' really wanted to say, so when they say exactly what they're thinking, it becomes startling, rather than some over-eloquent norm. I also tend to love things I'd never think to write myself, like most of the stuff at St. Ann's, which is always so exciting and big. I like seeing plays about underdogs, about people whose stories aren't getting told anywhere else.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
I think the Kneehigh Theatre people are all amazing. I love everything of theirs I see. John Tiffany. Annie Baker. Kenneth Lonergan. Chris Durang. Sarah Ruhl. Prince.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Tom Hanks and Glenn Close ARE... "The Lanky Guys In The Corner."

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: International House Hunters on HGTV.

What’s the most played song on your iPod?: "Garage Door Opening Sound Effect."

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A travel writer. Or a conman. A conman/travel writer.

What’s up next?: Finishing up a play commission from E.S.T, doing another big tour of the Stephen King/Mellencamp show, and working on a bunch of TV/Film projects, currently in development with various places. I acted in this short film I really love called "Future Hero" that's currently playing film fests around the country. Hoping it gets a big online release soon. Also I still perform improv with hello at the Peoples Improv Theater every Friday at 9:30. It's one of my favorite things in the world to do.