Monday, June 11, 2012

Meet a Master Mason Monday: Trav S.D.

Tells us about the first person you met at The Brick. I met many (maybe most) of the core Brick people long before the Brick was even a twinkle in Honeywell and Gardner's eyes. Back when there was a Todo Con Nada, a Present Company Theatorium, a Collective Unconscious, and a Surf Reality. The first of the bunch I met was Ian W. Hill, in 1996 when he was Nada's Bad Lieutenant. I distinctly remember discussing Harold Clurman with him while he swept the floor with a push broom. The first person I met at or around the Brick-Brick per se was Alexis Sottile, I think. She and I were ALSO discussing Harold Clurman while Ian swept the floor with a push broom.
Tell us about your first show at The Brick. I think the first show I produced at the Brick was a revival of my radio play "Cold Fire", which was in the Hell Festival in 2004. It was a very good experience as I recall. But, soft! Wait! Prior to that, I was in a playreading of a four hour long comedy by Jeff Lewonczyk, which is where I first recall meeting Danny Bowes and Alyssa Simon, who used to go around with an E in her name. Bowes ought to take his E out, too.
How did you first get involved with The Brick? Well, like I said I was friends and/or sometime collaborators with most of the folks prior to the founding, not just Ian and Berit, but also Hope and Jeff and Michael Gardner, etc etc. I remember being especially overjoyed when he and Robert (I hadn't met Robert before the Brick) started the theatre because it was literally only five minutes from my house. Because I had lived in outer boroughs since 1989, I had never had this luxury before, of being so super close to a theatre where I wanted to work. To have it be THE ONE theatre where I wanted to work was almost too good to be true. Consequently, I spent an awful lot of time there for many years, being in shows and watching friends' productions. It's been a little harder now that I've moved a little farther out.
What aspect of The Brick do you love? The aesthetic of absolute freedom; the ethic of absolute support. I honestly think most of the people who spend their time there do so because they frankly can't stand the assholes who rule the rest of the world (including the theatre world) and don't wish to become such themselves. The people who work there on an ongoing basis tend to value camaraderie over conquest. That doesn't mean there aren't spats. But everywhere else you go, such conflicts tend to mean the end of professional relationships, which is very cold. I don't know a single person at the Brick who is cold in that way. Isn't it preferable to work with your favorite people? I obviously think so!
What is your favorite show you’ve seen at The Brick? Though I was in it, I think I would have to say the Penny Dreadful serial, by Bryan Enk and Matt Gray.
What are your thoughts on Williamsburg? How has the art scene changed over the years?
Well, see, I go way back. I moved to the area in 1994. And yes, though I hate to say it (not), it was actually full of actual cool people back then, much more like Bushwick is now. In other words, actual starving artists and anarchists in unheated lofts and cold-water flats, people with no doorbells, and who put plants on their fire escapes. When I first moved here, the liquor store next to the Bedford Street L stop had bullet proof glass in front of the cashier. It started to change around the turn of the millennium. There was that re-zoning that allowed the building of high rises. And then very rapidly the neighborhood was invaded by the GREAT WASHED. It has not yet recovered from the influx.
How has gentrification affected your personal life? It's much easier now to get those apricot scented cleansing bars I like.
If you could move The Brick anywhere where would you put it? I confess that I am a strong proponent of moving the Brick. It is growing; everyone can see that. I think the theatre needs (and can fill) a house that can seat more people, sell more tickets, raise more revenue, pay more
 staff. It is of course a labor of love -- it's not about the pay for anybody.  But these are brilliant and talented people with a lot of art inside them. They deserve to be able to make it for real. It ain't no hobby. It's a life. Furthermore, as one of the artists who works there from time to time...a back entrance to the stage would be nice, more storage space, bigger dressing rooms, and a special refrigerator for my gin. As to where? I think it should remain in the neighborhood. If I were to go lookin’, I'd say somewhere over near the waterfront in some of that old warehouse space near the Brewery and Brooklyn Bowl. But I'm sure I'm dating myself. It’s probably already been turned into hat boutiques and mineral water factories by now.
What have you gained from your experience at The Brick? The very nice feeling that I don't have to do "this" alone.
What’s the best benefit of being a Master Mason? 
I went to this one party once where they had Cheetoes!
What’s something unknown about you that you want your fellow Master Masons to know? Yeah! Somebody stole my goddamn top hat from back stage.
What is one thing you would change about The Brick? Bathroom needs a sink. It also needs another bathroom.
What do you see in The Brick’s future? Only wonderful things. Much growth, greater fame. Many of its core people are in the middle of exciting growth spurts even as we speak. The Brick's legend will only spread.

Anything you want to plug? Oh, thanks!  
Yes, two things: 
1. A workshop version of my play The Fickle Mistress (about the life of 19th century actress Adah Isaacs Menken) is being presented at Dixon Place by Theatre Askew as part of the Hot! Festival on July 25. 

2. And my vaudeville revue Travesties of 2012 will be in the New York Musical Theatre Festival July 19-28. Thanks again!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"goooking" used to be "go looking"