Curious about who the incoming MFA playwrights are?? Well in this interview series we will get to learn a little bit about these awesome writers and their interests. First up we have Trip Venturella, a Boston friendly playwright who just put up a musical this summer called “Killer Maples.” Sounds fun to me!! Read on to learn more about him and look out for our two other interviews with the other writers!! Check out Tripp’s writing in Midnight Madness, coming to you in late August!
1. What got you excited about OU? What specifically are you looking forward to about our playwriting program?
2. Who/what are some of your artistic influences?
There are many! I’m kind of like a food processor, but for art: I try to take ideas from a lot of sources. When it comes to live theatre, I really admire the work of Boston’s Matthew Woods, whose devised scripts with his company, imaginary beasts, consistently blow my mind. Boston-based Johnny Kuntz writes killer plays; the kind I wish I wrote (or aspire to write). Spaulding Grey and Mike Daisy are two of my favorite raconteurs and storytellers, and I am fascinated with dramatic storytelling as a tool for theatre. Bedlam, a company based out of New York, is also one of my favorites when it comes to imaginative interpretations of classic plays. I’ve spent nearly 3 years working at Apollinaire Theatre Company, whose director, Danielle Jacques, has great taste in plays, and who has introduced me to some of my favorite contemporary playwrights, including Young Jean Lee, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Aaron Posner. I also love Neil Simon, Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, David Ives, and the amazing plays of Paula Vogel. Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and Lin Manuel Miranda are all incredible storytellers when it comes to musicals. I also love poets, with Anne Caron, Ann Sexton, W.S. Merwin, and Robert Lowell being some of my favorite “greats,” and Mark Bibbins, Natalie Diaz, and Naomi Shaib Nye as some of my favorite modern poets.
3. If you could get locked in the closet with one celeb, who would it be and why?
4. At this point in your playwriting work, what kind of stories and questions are you drawn to?
5. Tell us a fun fact about you!
[The door swings open to reveal the inside of the sugar shack. A spigot drips slowly into a tank of sap. In the center of the shack, connected to a mound of knotted roots, is MIKE, still in a tux but now with a flannel shirt thrown over this shoulders, with a drink.]
My dear sister
I am become a name, Sue!
The trees spoke, and I was the only one to hear their call
I have drunk the glory and the wisdom of the woods
Mike, you, you’ve—
Yes, but entirely by my own will
Yes, Sue, I have gone mad, quite mad, suuuuuper-villain mad
It began weeks ago, when I discovered the anger latent in the forests
I discovered ways to make the trees move, to make them kill, to follow the bugs and find prey
I listened to their whispers, but the more I spoke to them, the more I realized it was only a matter of time until I joined them, and now behold the grove and I transforméd, evolvéd, creating a new nature
my end is not to annihilate humans,
it is to transform them from the greedy, destructive killers that they are;
to convert greedy hands to nuuuuuuutrient-seeking roots!
I have shaped, in this grove, a new ecology, where the needs of man and the needs of nature to flourish are no longer at odds
I am the first to take the step, and so the rest of humanity shall follow
He’s not speaking
Sue, your brother is dead
Those are the trees speaking, he’s their puppet
He may be right, he may be wrong
Regardless, this fool will be killed!
[REG is entangled in roots]
Ack! I am entangléd in roots!
Mike, let Reg go
This is between you and me
This is the home we built, and it’s for us alone to decide who will take it with them
Hardly, this is between humans, and the rest of the world
I will remove your man
And Sue, you will join me!
Don’t listen to him!
He just confessed his madness
I may be mad, but madness is reasonable in the face of a our enmeshed history, and fantastic future
More about Trip
Trip Venturella is a graduate of Colby College with a degree in Religious Studies. He has worked with Colby College’s Theater and Dance Department, the human rights group ANHAD: Kashmir, Delhi University in New Delhi, Floating Space Theatre Company in Sri Lanka, and many, many groups in the Boston area. He has done field work on Chams Dance in Sikkim and studied Chhau Dance in Delhi. He currently serves as the Development and Outreach Director of Apollinaire Theatre Company in Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he has overseen the conception of, fundraising for, and buildout of the Riseman Family Theatre and the Chelsea Blackbox Theatre, as well as the production of three years of Apollinaire in the Park: a free, outdoor, bilingual summer theatre production. His original musical “Killer Maples: The Musical!,” a collaboration with the composer Andres Ramos, was produced by Yelling Man Theatre in June of 2016.