Thursday, September 22, 2016
Spotlight On...John Ahlin and Christopher Patrick Mullen
JA: Born in Houston Texas, Moved to New York when I was 6 months old.
CPM: Raised in Malvern PA, lives in Brooklyn New York.
JA: Graduate of Syracuse University
CPM: BA, DeSales University
JA: Appeared in Journey’s End, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Waiting for Godot among others on Broadway, as Orson Welles in Orson’s Shadow Off-Broadway as well as appearing in the Coen Brother’s "Inside Llewyn Davis".
CPM: West Side Story (1st National Tour); The Runner Stumbles (Off-Broadway revival); Metamorphoses, A Little Night Music, Candide, Assassins, Macbeth with the Arden Theatre Co and over 50 productions with The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and People’s Light.
JA: Strangely I never intended to be in theater, I wanted to be what is perhaps the opposite of an actor; a forest ranger. I fell into theater kinda by accident and never looked back.
CPM: My sister made me perform pantomimes when I was seven and it became my life. My only other temptation was baseball but I didn’t grow fast enough.
Who do you play in ChipandGus?:
JA: I play Gus, a very established yet troubled, lonely Professor of Philosophy who is hiding from a lot.
CPM: I play Chip; a forty something journeyman musician, between jobs, between girlfriends, between domiciles and about to walk off a plank.
Tell us about ChipandGus?:
JA: It is about two guys who meet once a month to play ping pong, and they meet it a rundown game room off of a rundown bar in an Upstate college town. They are acquaintances not friends, and on this one night something happens to change their relationship forever. And they really play ping pong. It is fast, funny, surprising and cathartic and quite unlike any other play.
What is it like being a part of ChipandGus?:
JA: We are the writers, directors and performers so it is a little like being a Queen in Chess who can move twice in a row, it is like having ultimate power, being able to change a line at will or simply keep tweaking something until it is exactly what we want.
CPM: It’s like tap-dancing while playing an 80 minute scene.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
CPM: When I go to theatre I want to go for a ride, and everything that goes with a ride, the dips and turns the “oh, no, oh no we’re not going to be taken there are we?!” And I need a window in, something that hits me, and I prefer theatre with a giant window or many windows so everyone, even a child has way in. The beauty of ChipandGus is that it has a universal window in, the simple game of Ping Pong. Something so basic we all can relate, and it is the starting point for this amazing ride that Chip and Gus go on and take the audience with.
JA: I love when characters have to face great and grand questions, when their humanity is called upon. As a playwright I am always looking for the way to freedom, the way to an ideal coexistence…and of course humor and wit are this magic world, a dimension that I love to explore.
Any roles you’re dying to play?:
JA: I’ve played Falstaff 11 times and I’d happily do it 11 more, but the part I’m dying to play is Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner.
CPM: Two come to mind for me; Harold Hill in The Music Man and Cyrano, oh, but my dream role is Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl.
What’s your favorite showtune?:
JA: Impossible to answer but an example of how I listen is to find recordings, say “Some People” from Gypsy by Angela Lansbury, Patty Lupone, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters and Liza Minelli and listen to all five in a row. (My favorite? Drum roll………..Liza, by a mile, committed, raw and brilliant!)
CPM: Wow, so many…I can’t name one…“Send in the Clowns” is so sentimental, I can’t…this is…oh alright “Shipoopi”, there, both ends of the spectrum. Wait, can I add Hello Dolly’s “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” and from Fiddler: “Little Chavala” and the “Dream.”
JA: Sorry I have to stop you.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
JA: At this point there are several directors I’d love to work with, Jack O’Brien, Daniel Sullivan, David Saint, Doug Hughes, etc.
CPM: My friend Rob McClure.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
JA: It would be called "Get the Laugh" and I would be played by Oliver Hardy striking out on his own (without Stan Laurel).
CPM: I would be played by Robert Downey Jr and it would be called "The Walking Cautionary Tale."
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?:
CPM: I would want to see the first performance of Hamlet.
JA: I would go back to the Globe and see Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts one and two. Or see the Marx brothers during one of their live Vaudeville shows.
What show have you recommended to your friends?:
JA: Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth is the one I recommend but I certainly would recommend ChipandGus.
CPM: I recommend Something Rotten.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
JA: I collect little figures; toy soldiers, cartoon characters, and small super heroes.
CPM: Red wine and classical music.
What’s up next?:
JA: After ChipandGus finishes in the Fringe Encore Festival I’m off to Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey to do A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
CPM: Every Christmas Story Ever Told at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.
For more on ChipandGus, visit http://www.fatknighttheatre.org/