Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spotlight On...David H. Rosen

Name: David H Rosen

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Education: Ph.D. in social and personality psychology, NYU' 05

Favorite Credits: Various Shotz pieces, since that's all I've really written.

Why theater?: Because most other attempts at communicating with people have been an abject failure, for me anyway.  Theater is a great way to share thoughts, feelings, experiences, perspectives with multiple people at the same time.  Writing for theater allows me to take a moment form my past, encode it in words, and see it brought to life so that others can share in it.  (And so I can remember it.)

Tell us about There’s a Light on Yonder Mountain?:
It's a very interesting experiment.  We went from exercises to characters to storyline in a novel way (at least for me), and generated this strange mash-up of fear and magic and desperation.  Writing it was unlike any process I've ever gone through and I'm looking forward to seeing it on stage.

What inspired you to create There’s a Light on Yonder Mountain?:
The three other writers have all generated other inspiring work.  I first read a David Williams play (Ampersand) in... 1996, I believe, and the world and characters he created were so magical.  Lindsay has a play about two sisters cleaning out their mother's house -- The Unearthing, I believe it's called -- that really gathers so much of what it means to be part of a family, mixes it with best- and worst-case scenarios of having dreams, and then seamlessly unfurls a tense story over a two-day period.  And Stacy's pieces for Shotz have pushed the boundaries of magical realism and helped me expand the territory I cover in my own writing.  So getting to work with them was my biggest inspiration.  They're all established playwrights; I'm just some guy.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like theater in which one character gets another to appreciate or understand or become interested in something that the second person hadn't previously cared about.  (Note: I also like that in real life.)  I also like art in which characters find moments of hope amid great desperation.  A band that does desperation better than anyone is the Mountain Goats, and listening to them, going through track after desperate track waiting for that morsel of hope, then finding it, is extremely rewarding.  Because ultimately I'm an extremely optimistic person. Terrence McNally inspires me, and John Guare.  David Rabe, too: Goose and Tom Tom is one of my favorite scripts.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Hmmmm.  Matt Korahais?  The Assembly?  Probably someone I've never met: when Paul C Kite (playing Steve) directed one of my short plays, we had a 45-minute phone call before we'd ever met that was truly remarkable.  He just dug right in to the script, saw what it had and what it was missing, and gave great feedback.  I haven't been "working" in theater long enough to answer this question, in other words.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
Home/sick by the Assembly is one of the greatest things I've ever seen.  I can't wait to see their new show.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: "A Fist Full of No" starring Nick Offerman.  Or that guy form "The Shield."  I have no idea who he is, or what that show is about, but people used to say I looked like him.  Or, that he looked like me.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Uh... not spending time volunteering?  Eating steamed dumplings 5 times a week?  Managing credit risk for 50 hours a week?  It's a challenge, asking a Jew what he feels guilty about.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Probably working at American Express, which is what I do now.  (Note: I'm not authorized to speak for the company and everything I say is my own opinion and not related to the company.  I don't think I have to say that, but I did!)  Fortunately, I really love it.

What’s up next?: Well, I've only ever worked with Amios, and I'd like to continue doing that: writing and directing in Shotz, then coordinating one again soon.  Beyond that, I need to write some full-length plays so that there can be a "next".