Saturday, August 20, 2016

Spotlight On...Sid Ross

Name: Sid Ross

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Education: I studied acting for a semester at NYU, then transferred into the English dept. and focused on writing, which meant (for some reason) I read a lot of Chaucer.

Favorite Credits: Writer: A Feeling of Family (Lanyard Theater, Bath, ME); Collisionville (78th Street Theater Lab, New York, NY); Kangaroo Days (Grove Street Playhouse, New York, NY); White Crimes (Reading, MCC Theater, New York, NY); An Affair of the Mind (New York University). Actor: Lucky in Lucky in Life, 78th Street Theatre Lab. This was a mad, chaotic workshop written by the brilliant Karl Greenberg, who helped me distinguish between Elephantiasis and Proteus Syndrome for my Fringe show, Becoming OCD.

Why theater?: My show Becoming OCD is a combination of theater and performance art. Its natural home is a live, community space.  In fact, I’m seated at a table most of the time – if the other diners stayed quiet long enough, I probably could do my piece at the dinner table, too. Either way, I am trying to deconstruct the art of storytelling.

Tell us about Becoming OCD: It’s about a middle-aged man – that would be me – finally coming to grips with his life-long obsessive-compulsive disorder. But this OCD is more than, say, checking the stove before leaving the house. This OCD is about missing subway lights, glass bottles in the street, and a fictional case of Proteus Syndrome, which was the disease John Derrick, the Elephant Man, had.

What inspired you to write Becoming OCD?: I always wanted to write about my obsessive-compulsive disorder. But first it had to be diagnosed. Then I needed the right combination of anti-depressant medication and cognitive-based therapy – all that took years, decades, to get right. In short, I needed to become well enough to write about unwell I’ve been.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Becoming OCD owes its genesis to Spalding Gray, primarily. But I’m old enough to have seen one of the very last original Arthur Miller plays produced (at the Signature), and I grew up dissecting his work. Also the work of Tennessee Williams. But wait: there’s also Paula Vogel, Caryl Churchill, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson and Tony Kushner.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Dylan Baker – I’d like to write a role for him in something. Anything.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The recent production of Peer Gynt at the CSC. Michael: you and I discussed this show in line at one of the early Fringe events, and you said you saw it and didn’t like it. I loved it – I went back and saw it twice! I even met Dylan Baker, who is one of my very favorite actors (see above).

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Baker. He would be in the movie with the wonderful Becky Ann Baker (his wife) and it would be about my marriage and my wife, and it would be called The Theoretical Driver.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original Streetcar. Hands down. I also want to go back to the 60’s and hear Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone for the first time on the radio.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Watching “The Night Of” on demand when I should be promoting my Fringe show.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be ____?: In the movies and/or writing them. I have (of course) an unproduced screen play. And teleplay.

What’s up next?: Chris Clavelli (Becoming OCD’s director) and I are thinking about expanding the current show from 55 to 70 minutes.