By Oumar B.
It was on a cold fall evening, that I met with PigPen Theatre Company to talk about their most recent production: The Old Man and the Moon. I have been a fan of PigPen for years and I was beyond being excited to interview them. Here is some of what we talked about.
So guys, what makes a good play?
The guys looked surprised, and start laughing
Matt Nuernberger: I think every play that I’ve seen, that I’ve always walked away thinking ‘that was a good play’ has always had music in it.
Curtis Gillen: It’s good if it has a good story, and that’s what I think is at the root of all the things we like to do – it comes out of the story first and what kind of story we are trying to tell.
Arya Shahi: One thing that Matt said a while ago and kind of stuck with me is: surprise. All the plays I really like had me surprised in a way. I think people go to the theater or to the movies obviously to learn something about themselves, but you can’t learn something about yourself if you’re not caught off-guard, you can’t learn anything if you go home the same time you came in
Your show was super affected by Sandy. How did you come out strong of it?
They all look more serious.
Dan Weschler: We didn’t have shows because of Sandy for like…five days? And when we came back from Sandy our first show had six people at it [less audience than PigPen members]. And doing that in the space with all this stuff and just six people out there was just an incredible way to get back into doing the show.
Curtis Gillen: It felt like this is what we needed, and this is what they needed, because they needed an escape – and we were happy to allow that.
Arya Shahi: In a way, it kind of alters the experience when everyone has a shared experience. It really comes back to what theater was a long long time ago when it was just community; it didn’t feel like a big New York City show, because nobody was here.
The guys laugh.
Any advice for young playwrights and aspiring actors who wants to have a career in theatre, but are afraid because of the amount of work, sacrifice, or the fear of failure?
Alex Falberg: It’s something a guy who went to our school who is now a successful actor told us. He gave us a list of advice for young artists and one of the first things he said was, “There is no gold in tickets. There is no one thing that will take you to the top”. The next thing he said was, “You matter, no matter what everybody says no matter how you feel you matter”. And the last things he said was, “You don’t matter nearly as much as you think you do.” It’s a balance of not taking yourself too seriously and also working really hard and having faith in who you are.
Want to see The Old Man and the Old Moon?
The Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson St. @ Washington Square South