Never mind our interview! Kacey at WHUD conducted a terrific interview with Martin Moran - click here to listen (and then click on "A Deeply Human Place" and fast forward to the 15 minute mark).
The Insights & Revelations Performance Series is honored to be welcoming Martin Moran in his developing solo show, Rehearsing Consciousness, directed by Seth Barrish, on March 4th. His earlier solo show, The Tricky Part (also directed by Barrish), was hailed as brilliant and moving, and his performance a real tour-de-force. No surprise that it won the OBIE Award.
We are eagerly awaiting their visit to the Series with a new work, and so delighted that we will be the first audience to witness it! Until then, we asked if Martin and Seth would spend a few minutes with us here, giving us an idea of what to expect. What follows are two separate interviews with Martin Moran and Seth Barrish, by Series Producer, Anna Becker:
Martin, can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect when we see your developing solo show, Rehearsing Consciousness?
As you will be the first audience to hear this piece, the idea of what to expect remains a mystery even for me. I recently finished up a couple of years playing Sir Robin in Broadway’s Spamalot, where a bunch of silly knights gallop about in search of the Holy Grail. Whatever that is! Having just turned fifty, in funny and not so funny ways, I’m full of all these questions about meaning and mortality and purpose—still looking for the grail, I suppose. So, in the most basic terms, you can expect a rather short guy standing center stage seducing you with a combo of ‘stand-up’ and carefully crafted words centered on travel adventures, an encounter with an African refugee, a death in the family, and the meaning of it all.
What's it like to be performing in a Broadway show like Spamalot - with a large cast, music, and dancing - at night, and writing and rehearsing a solo show during the day?
There is a wonderful equipoise in the times in my life when I have been in big musicals at the same time as I’ve been creating new solo work. The experience of Times Square, the rush of a large company of players, the crowd, the roaring train that is a Broadway orchestra, to be jumped on and not missed! This is the experience of being enmeshed, surrounded, by a giant, social soup. It brings an exuberant joy and, to this day, my astonishment at the realization of a boyhood dream to sing and dance on Broadway.
And then, there is this equally intense adventure of sitting at a small desk in my tiny office journeying within, utterly alone, excavating what asks to be manifest. It can be a gratifying but lonely endeavor. So I have appreciated the balance. I realize that I need both--the night of revel and ritual, the quiet solitude of examining my own consciousness.
What was your impetus for writing Rehearsing Consciousness?
The seeds of this new piece grow out of bewilderment. Rilke said: “Love the questions stuck in your heart…like books written in a very foreign tongue.” Questions rise up and get stuck in the gut like an imperative. In my case: What is anger? What is compassion? How do they co-exist in our everyday lives? The impetus to make Rehearsing Consciousness came from this constant wonder at all the little and big moments in our lives where rage and empathy collide. What are we meant to learn, if anything? How can we wake up and be aware of each other’s plight, each other’s story? What is forgiveness? How is the act of reconciliation tied up in our human instinct for, not just survival, but for recovery and joy?
In what ways does the enormous success of your first solo show, The Tricky Part, inform your process of creating this new show?
I walked through a lot of terror and doubt while making The Tricky Part and, though I am certainly nervous about embarking on this new piece, I did gain courage and insight having mounted a one-man theater piece that was well received. I still struggle with an essential embarrassment about first person singular monologue. I still hear the voices of nuns chiding me for calling too much attention to myself. I, I, I, me me me. But I have come to know (through The Tricky Part) that the great balancing act and paradox of writing memoir is that what appears to be all about “I”, is really exploring “We.” A collective, a theatrical examination of questions of being human.
Many of you may remember the multi-talented Seth Barrish (co-Artistic Director of the always-wonderful theatre company, The Barrow Group) from his appearance in the critically-acclaimed "The Timekeepers," which had a sneak preview in the Series, or you may remember that he was the director of our presentation of James Braly's "The Monthly Nut," for which Seth not only provided great insights at the talkback, but also told a great joke....Seth has an enormous track record as a director, actor, composer, and more, and we are looking forward to having him back with us on the 25th.
Seth, Can you talk a little bit about your role as director of Rehearsing Consciousness? Are you involved in script development as well as staging the work?
I think we both have more ease and confidence in throwing stuff out there to play with and less fear of failure.
Rehearshing Consciousness will surely be a revelatory experience and we look forward to more insights from the artists at the post-show discussion and reception. Do join us on March 4th for this first sneak preview of the next great solo show. Call (914) 698-0098 for tickets or go to www.Emelin.org