Saturday, August 22, 2015

Spotlight On...Jaron Hollander and Slater Penney

Name: Jaron Aviv Hollander and Slater Brooks Penney

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Jaron: BA Theatre UC Santa Cruz, Dell Arte School of Physical theater, Circo Arts New Zealand,  PHD Equivalent in screwing around trying to get laughs.
Slater: BA Theatre UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco Circus Center, Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre

Favorite Credits:
S: blue.
J: what? That's a credit?
S: oh I thought you meant color. Blue.
J: Slater has an Emmy.
S: Jaron was in Cirque du Soleil.

Why theater?:
J: because initially I thought theatre would get me laid. After twenty years of trying I discovered I was good at getting laughed at. So I stuck with it.
S: oh, I'm not going to be much help here. I just like to play. And theater is full of plays.
J: is The Submarine Show a play?
S: sure; I have fun

Tell us about The Submarine Show:
S: it's funny. I'm proud of it.
J: Me too.
S: the submarine, like the volcano, is an integral part of American mythology.
J: The idea of being deep underwater, cold, isolated and under a tremendous amount of pressure ...
S: ..sounded a lot like theater..
J: which we found deplorable
S: This is our major critique for modern theatre. It is absolutely independent from the audience
J: so we crashed the submarine into the fourth wall and drown the audience

What inspired you to create The Submarine Show?:
J: one day when we were messing around I said to Slater "hey let's be in a submarine."
S: and I said "OK"
J: and first 10 minutes of the show happened right then

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
S: old cartoons, like Popeye and Roadrunner.
J: The Muppets...  As a circus artist, i'm a very tough audience. I perform and teach people to do dangerous things that are actually dangerous. I really need theater to be immediate, hilarious, terrifying, unpredictable and/or shocking.
S: or at least take the time to look at the audience.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?:
S: someone really really good. And important.
J: to be totally honest I don't know. The partnership that Slater and I have is something really unique. I've never experienced a creative connection like this with anybody. I've never trusted anybody so totally on stage. I think there are very few people out there we get to have this kind of chemistry on stage. We have nearly 30 years of history together. It would take a long time to build that kind of relationship with someone else... Oh wait I have a better answer. I like to be the special guest stars on the Muppet Show.
S: dude... me too! Although... could we lose the laugh track

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
J: you're not my friend.
S: yeah, I don't know you.
J: I keep telling my friends to come see The Submarine Show but they are too busy.
S: I mean, I have friends who have shows that you should see. Deanna Fletcher has a mean piece called Butt Kapinski. Best bit of audience interaction I've seen in a while. Also there's Frank Olivier's Twisted Cabaret. Ricochet is an amazing bit of circus theatre. And if you could go back in time, I'd go back and watch Cirque Batard perform Raw Dog at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts again.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: 
J: Can kermit the frog play me in a movie? Actually I prefer Gonzo. But then who would you be?
S:You KNOW I get gonzo.
J: But Gonzo is my favorite.... Maybe Gonzo should play both of us.
S: Or... Okay, you get Gonzo. I get R2D2
J: Deal. But what will the movie be called
S: "The Odd Couple"... Actually, can I change my answer? Can I get Jim Carrie to play me? Just give him R2s voice.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: 
J: I don't know; I haven't seen it.
S: yeah, that's... I guess I'd want to have seen Williams and Martin doing Waiting For Godot. Or Bill Irwin's Fool Moon. Video doesn't quite capture the essence.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: 
J: I try not to feel guilty about things I enjoy.
S: regrets.
J: you enjoy those?
S: yeah, I do.
J: you feel guilty about enjoying your regrets?
S: yeah, right? I mean...  you're not supposed to.

If you weren't working in theater, you would be ____?:
J and S: unemployed.

What's up next?:
J: probably another beer
S: yeah
J: but after that, we want to take The Submarine Show around the world.
S: It's really easy to pack.
J: no sets
S: no props
J: no spoken words or language
S: Just costumes and a laptop.
J: so it's great for anybody anywhere.
S: especially us.

For more on Jaron and Slater and The Submarine Show, visit