Friday, August 5, 2016
Spotlight On...Mike Wirsch
Hometown: Beacon, NY
Education: Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts, St. John’s University
Favorite Credits: Writer: The Journeymen and Womyn With a Y (The Overtime Theatre, San Antonio); Performer: The Dead Sullivan Show, Naked Holidays (EndTimes Productions); Space Captain: Captain of Space! (No Tea Productions)
Why theater?: I used to wrestle (badly) when I was in high school, and when I was sixteen I decided to audition for Mame instead. That was my first taste of theater. Now I tend to do more absurd and comedic shows, because they interest me. Hopefully they interest other people as well.
Tell us about The Curse of the Babywoman: Here’s the elevator pitch : “Shurbtown is a small town for smallminded people preoccupied by social mores and the new Bob's Big Boy. But everyone has secrets, and one secret toddles to life every night. Can Shrubtown stand up to a creature that can barely walk?” I don’t want to sound too pretentious, but on a deeper level it’s a story about fear, denial in the face of evidence, mob mentality, and small town values. What better way to frame this story than with something as innocuous as a giant baby?
What inspired you to write The Curse of the Babywoman: It started with a quip my girlfriend made, something to the tune of, “What if I acted like a giant baby?” For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to expand upon this and write a full length play. This has all gotten way out of hand.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love good improv comedy. It is raw, spontaneous, and cheap. You can see the best improvisors in the city for under ten bucks. No sets, no scripts, no bullshit. This coming from a writer. And if you want to be inspired, watch TJ and Dave. They embody the idea of being “in the moment.”
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Either the WWE Hardcore Legend Mick Foley or Louis CK. Either one, and in any capacity.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: I know I don’t need to recommend it, and at this point it’s old, but Sleep No More is just so cool.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I’ve been compared to both Steve Buscemi and Joel McHale, so let’s imagine that they produce a lovechild, and that lovechild becomes an actor. We’ll call him Jeeves McScemi. And the movie is called "Wirsch Nightmare". It is rated NC17, and it is full of lies about me.
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: When I was growing up, commercials for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats used to scare the living shit out of me. I had nightmares about these weird humancat hybrids. So when my mom offered to take me and my sister to see the show, we both told her no way. I still haven’t seen it. But part of me wishes I had faced my fear. And it looks like I won’t have to go back in time to do it, because Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats has returned to scar yet another generation of impressionable youths.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I’m one of those thirty year old men who loves Pokémon GO. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Writing short stories, drawing, painting, playing music... I’d be doing something in the arts.
What’s up next?: My musical improv team, Good Catch, has shows coming up in Manhattan, Boston, and Rochester. And I am always writing stuff. Currently, my friend and I are working on a short musical modeled after 1970s pop culture and children’s shows, kind of a weird homage to H.R. Pufnstuf. It is titled, In the Giant’s Soup
For more on The Curse of the Babywoman, visit bigtheatre.org. For more on Mike, visit mikewirsch.com.