Hey y’all! Who is getting excited for the Seabury Quinn Playfest this April!! We are kicking off our interview series with one of everyone’s favorite OU Second Year Playwrights, Tyler Whidden! Tyler has become well known in the playwriting program for his hilarious madnesses, his foul mouthed characters and of course his adorable son Booker! Read my full interview with him below and learn more about him and his awesome new play that will be featured in the Seabury Quinn, ChocolateSexPuppyTacos (a Non-Denomination Comedy)
Can you talk about the idea behind your play “ChocolateSex…” ?
I think it’s a conglomeration of two of the many lives I’ve lived. When I was a kid, I went to Catholic school and sort of rejected it right away, and after college I became a comedian for a number of years. I guess this is me putting those two lives on stage.
If your play was a type of dessert, what would it be and why?
Sea-Salt-Caramel Gelato, but with the caramel chocolate squares mixed in. No reason — I just think that stuff is dabomb.com/hellyeah #fuckinggetit. (to use your parlance)
Rumor on the street is that you have a background in standup comedy. Did you learn anything from standup, that you have brought into your playwriting work?
Oh, absolutely – and vice versa as well. But, just how to express yourself for an audience and how to use your own rhythms and cadence in speech and how a single word can mean a lot. Stand-up is as close to theater as you can get — it’s a craft that depends on detail — moreso than a lot of similar performance art. Because the best stand-up is the stand-up where the comic is central to the world they’re creating. Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Sam Kinison (all comics mentioned in the play), Bill Hicks — they put their lives on stage. It’s incredibly ballsy. That’s true of all art — especially theater.
What is a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I’ve seen every episode of Three’s Company, Cheers, West Wing, and Quantum Leap.
You’ve read about and now fallen in love with Tyler! Now Come check out the reading for his play “ChocolateSexPuppyTacos (A Non-Denominational Comedy) at the 21st Annual Seabury Quinn PlayFest: Thursday April 23rd at 4pm in Baker Theater!
Here is the blurb for it:
Chris is the preacher of a failing ministry and Josh is a stand-up comedian who made his name off dick jokes. When Josh rolls into Chris’ chapel, the two brothers find themselves back into their old routine of name-calling and slap-fighting, just in time for the chapel’s five-year anniversary festivities. Can comedy save God?
More about Tyler
Tyler Whidden was born and raised in Cleveland, OH where he grew up the least-talented son of a hockey-first family. After earning his BFA in Playwriting at Ohio University, he began a tragic career as a stand-up comic based out of Seattle, WA. After years of toiling on the road, he moved to Chicago where he returned to theater, studying and working with Victory Gardens and the Neo-Futurists theaters among many others. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and worked as Director of Education with the great Ensemble Theater of Cleveland. His play Dancing With N.E.D. was produced in 2012 in Cleveland and his family-friendly farce, The Unofficial Almost True Campfire Tales of Put-in-Bay was commissioned by the Put-in-Bay Arts Council as part of their Bicentennial Celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie in the Summer of 2013. He’s excited to be back where it all started and he lives with his beautiful wife, Angie — way out of his league — and their beautiful boy, Booker — his intellectual equal.