Friday, March 11, 2016

Spotlight On...Sam Corbin

Name: Sam Corbin

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Education: NYU Tisch, The Experimental Theatre Wing

Select Credits: As an actor: Fern in Bull’s Hollow (Ars Nova), Jane Eyre in You on the Moors Now (HERE), Self-Depicted Lena in Too Many Lenas (The New Ohio). As a playwright: -ARCHY (#serials@theflea).

Why theater?: Because it’s brave. And because what else would I do with all these swirling neuroses? Write thinkpieces? Theatre challenges you to give yourself over to something that’s bigger than you, while allowing you to use every part of your body and your heart to accomplish the task.

Who do you play in Rhinbecca, NY?: I play One. Or no one. It’s hard to say! The show deals extensively with this very question. But I do get to speak in a number of ridiculous voices, so occasionally I play a robot, and a German lady, and Mickey Mouse.

Tell us about Rhinbecca, NY: The town, or the play? I guess they’re kind of the same thing. Rhinbecca, NY is where we ended up when we tried to put Alfred Hitchcock’s mastery of suspense in conversation with Eugene Ionesco’s penchant for the absurd. It’s a show about those things, but it’s also a show about theatre itself — which is a very signature “nod” for Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, the company behind this show.

What is it like being a part of Rhinbecca, NY?: It’s one of those plays that pushes back. You think you’re filling out the shape of it, and then the shape changes. It’s kind of like we made a Frankenstein — we spent months devising, then lightning struck somewhere along the way and Rhinbecca, NY is suddenly alive. It’s aliiiiive! So that’s been thrilling. Also, the ensemble for this show is stellar. It’s a bunch of smart kids who appreciate dumb jokes. We can mess with each other nonstop onstage while still taking care of each other. That’s something you don’t often find.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Witty theatre. Smart theatre.  Dance theatre. Specific, staged work that doesn’t rely on Narrative to get a point across. Also, work that stands alone without making any explicit “points” at all. I have big writer’s crushes on John Barth, Amy Leach and Lydia Davis. But the people who inspire me most as an artist are people that I already know: Joey O’Neil, who was brave enough to move to the Yukon to make her art. Jo Firestone, who doesn’t ask permission to make weird shows for other people. Friends who work tirelessly and courageously to make their own way. That’s what I want for myself.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I love originating characters in new plays, so whatever I’m dying to play probably hasn’t been written yet. That said, can somebody write drunk Dorothy in a show called The Wizard of 1.5 Oz? Because I would play that Dorothy in a heartbeat.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I’d love to say that it’s Fun Home’s “Telephone Wire,” since that song wrenched every drop of salt tears I had left from my eyes. But it’s actually the opening song from Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat: “Being told we’re also-rans / Does not make us Joseph fans.” I mean, what a lyricist.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: It’s impossible to choose! Taylor Mac, Cynthia Hopkins, Annie B. Parsons and Big Dance Theater... can I say the ghost of Gertrude Stein, too?

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would resurrect Edith Bouvier Beale circa age 60 to play me in a mockumentary called "They Said You’d Say That". (She tells my story through the lens of a hack psychic who goes around pretending to see other people’s futures while ignoring the dire prospects of her own.)

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I know it’s recent, but I really wish I saw Gatz.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: YOUARENOWHERE, Andrew Schneider’s show that premiered at COIL in 2015. It was this amazing, mind-bending combination of science theory and theatre magic that left me stunned and emotional and smarter for it. And it’s back at 3-Legged Dog now! So go see it!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Occasionally, I’ll walk into BAM and buy a bag of their movie popcorn to-go, then take it home to watch Netflix. I am 100% sure that this is socially reprehensible, and I am OK with that.

What’s up next?: I’m writing plays! One is about a descendant of Marcel Duchamp who discovers she’s the Messiah of Postmodernism, and the other is about a woman in the 90s who starts having psychic visions of the millennium sung to her by a chorus of twentysomethings. (Loosely based on the story of a real woman who, I just found out, invented Bacardi Breezers. The play is basically writing itself.) Stay tuned!

For more on Sam, visit, For more on Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, vist

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