Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Spotlight On...Randolph Curtis Rand

Name: Randolph Curtis Rand

Hometown: Galesburg, IL, and Brooklyn, NY

Education: BFA, Penn State (the Sandusky years), MFA, Naropa University, and the Theatres of NYC.

Why theater?: I thought I wanted to be a visual artist, but it’s too isolating! I want to create in a room full of people. It’s the reason I’m not a writer. And I want to be a composer, an architect, and a sculptor; in theatre I can play at all those things.

What inspired you to create and direct Phantasmagoria; or, Let Us Seek Death!?: I think any dramatization I’ve seen has fallen short of the book. It’s a very strange book, by 21st can. standards, but also by the standards of the day; just when you want the novel to pick up pace, it becomes a travelogue. There are many things to talk about as far as why the book is the way it is, but I started by thinking of what the zeitgeist was like then, and how the book could have only been written in that world/time/climate. At first I thought it would be the ideas and philosophies swirling around, and how they get played out in the book, but (and I think that this was Chana Porter’s idea) it really became about how a person uses their own experience to fuel their work, thus making sense out of the world, and thus, becoming an artist.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I get most of my inspiration from outside the theatre: Buddhism, Philosophy, quantum physics, John Cage, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, the Judson Dance Theater, Grand Union, Cunningham, Fluxus. Brecht is a continuous laboratory for me. And always Charles Ives.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I don’t know who that is yet; there are new companies popping up all the time, doing great stuff. From established artists, I’d love to work with Eve Sussman.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Naturally, I haven’t seen anything in a while, because of the show schedule, but I would always invite folk to check out anything by Witness Relocation, Target Margin, Elevator Repair Service, The Mad Ones, The Wooster Group, just to name a few.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I think different people would play different aspects of my life; when Mel Blanc and Laurence Olivier died one day apart, a friend called me and said that they must have been the 2 great influences on my life. So, they would play me, but also, Lupito Nyong’o, and Bill Irwin. Cantinflas would be in there too. The film would be called SERIOUS PLAY, with all the meanings of those words and that phrase, explored, and would show me(s) in a series of humiliations that are at once excruciatingly painful, and hysterically funny.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The Bacchae. Maybe then I would know what the hell that piece is about!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: TV. I don’t have a TV so I don’t watch it (Lame excuse, but it works for me; “How would I watch TV, I don’t own one?”). But when I work out of town, there is always a TV. Since I don’t know what any shows are, I just flip through channels. Once while flipping in NC, I saw that Breaking Bad was coming up next; I’d never seen this cultural phenomenon so forced myself to watch it; it was the last episode.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Depressed/taking hostages/a Buddhist Monk/Rich. Choose one.

What’s up next?: A workshop at Spooky Action Theatre in DC. It’s a mash-up of 3 Tennessee Williams pieces, all dealing with the character of “Alma”.

For more on Phantasmagoria, visit http://lamama.org/phantasmagoria. For more on Randolph Curtis Rand, visit https://sites.google.com/site/randolphcurtisrand/home