I caught up with Martin Dockery, writer/performer of Wanderlust, our March 1, 2008 presentation, and asked him a few questions about his solo show.
AB: I understand that you are an extemporaneous storyteller - that there is no actual written script - can you tell me a little about how that works - how is the piece built? how different is the show each time you perform it?
MD: I think the process is a bit like preparing a meal, the recipe for which you’ve never written down. Each time you use the same ingredients, but in slightly different proportions. And when finally you taste it, the dish is what you intended, while at the same time unique.
AB: Did the events in Wanderlust actually happen to you?
MD: Yes, everything described actually happened. But as all storytellers know (which is to say, everyone) tangential truths will be omitted, convoluted details streamlined, and only the most pertinent themes brought to the surface. A tale can be told from an infinite number of perspectives, all of them valid. And so, while everything I tell is true, I’m aware that it can never be the whole truth.
AB: Did you get the idea to write a solo show based on your experiences in Africa after you came back, while there, or did you go to Africa to get a story?
MD: I very much went to Africa with the intention of finding a story. I kept an almost obsessive diary that was more akin to a sprawling novel than a journal. I would track themes and introduce characters I met, detailing their journeys, conflicts, and intentions. It was as if the emergence of a plotline might serve as evidence of a grander, hidden agenda within the whole of life itself. Of course, as it turned out, the more I wrote, the more I found I could never quite write enough. In trying to record everything, my journal became a perverse reminder of all I was leaving out, of facts and clues omitted, of a picture growing evermore incomplete.
AB: Are you working on a new project? If so, can you tell me a little bit about it?
MD: I tell stories at various venues around New York City, sometimes once or twice a week. Over time, I tend to notice a theme emerging, as if on its own - a larger, over-arching story, which seems to be telling itself. And so, lately, I’ve been drawn to desperate tales about being a teenager, about girls and beer, about the awkward stumble towards adulthood. (To which, yes, I might still be stumbling.)