Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spotlight On...Adam Harvey

Name: Adam Harvey

Hometown: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Education: Autodidact for the Joyce, Texas Tech University for the Drama, and the University of San Martin, Tarapoto, Peru for the shamanism.

Favorite Credits: A Finnegans Wake show I put up at Cornell University, summer of 2005 for a Joyce academic conference. I performed an entire 40 page chapter – “The Mime of Mick, Nick and the Maggies” - some of the densest stuff in the book. Two-and-a-half hours long, all done off book, and it was as physical a performance as I could make it. I’m pleased with the work I’ve done since then, but I can only look back in disbelief at what I did for that show.

Why theater?: I ask myself this same question all the time. Another way of putting this is “Why not film?” After all, film can be manipulated with edits and close-ups and photo-shopping and sound effects and musical punches and on and on. Only big-budget theater - Broadway and the like - ever succeeds in aping these manipulations, and they can certainly succeed, no question. But to my mind the only reason to go to the theater is to watch something non-apish happen right in front of you, to bear witness to real human activity with all the manipulative filters removed. To do this successfully is rare - even for theater - but theater is the only place where such an event CAN happen.

Tell us about Don’t Panic: it’s only Finnegans Wake: People do panic - this is a real problem. I’ve been running James Joyce reading groups for over fifteen years now, and when it comes time to open our copies of the Wake and peek at what’s inside, even world-renown Joyce scholars have been known to excuse themselves on the flimsiest of pretexts - “Gosh, look at the time,” “My wife’s at home,” “I have to go mow the lawn,” - I’ve heard them all. So it’s an elephant in the room – best look it straight in the eye. This show is specifically designed to make Joyce’s masterpiece accessible – but not through the usual channel of simplifying or condensing, as so many have done before. Finnegans Wake is neither simple nor condensable. It is a massive exploration of the unfathomable universe we live in, and DON’T PANIC: it’s only Finnegans Wake is an invitation as much as anything else: to enjoy, appreciate, and ultimately learn to be comfortable with that which we don’t understand.

What inspired you to write Don’t Panic: it’s only Finnegans Wake?: Well, James Joyce wrote most everything in the show; my contribution as a “writer” is mostly to provide bridges, to ‘ease people into it’ as it were. But this question’s easy to answer: my inspiration is "Finnegans Wake" itself. I’ve been at it for twenty years now, and it never stops being new.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
Oddly enough, American realism - all that stuff taught by Strasbourg, Adler , Meisner, Hagen, etc. Again, it comes down to ‘How do you make something real happen for an audience to see?’

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Bill Irwin – America’s greatest living performer of abstract texts. Yet watch him in the film "Rachel Getting Married" and you’d swear he was from HB, Esper, Actor’s Studio, etc. The man has the best of both worlds living in his body – simply amazing.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently, a local production here in Santa Fe of DLA’s Good People. Some of the most inspired stuff I’ve seen anywhere, and I mean that: London, New York, Chicago, etc. Good theater can happen anywhere.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Richard Burbage starring in “The Invisible Ink Stain”

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Flash Games – the kind modelled on the video and computer games I played when I was a kid in the ‘80s.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: "Vuelvo al Sur" by Popcorn Behavior.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Teaching.

What’s up next?: I’ll put the show up here in Santa Fe again. Some more tweaking, then a tour.

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