By Byrne Harrison
Cross-posted from StageBuzz.com
Name: Lenny Schwartz
Play: The Six Month Cure
Relationship to production: Playwright
How did you first get involved in theatre?
I used to act in high school and college... my first play I was in was Anything Goes in 1993 in high school in Cranston, RI. I wanted to be an actor...and even graduated with a B.A. in performance! I actually got started. It was in college I wrote my first play. I was bored in a math class and I started to write my first play, Lost In a Daydream in 1995. At the end of the class I had a full script and an A in the class. 15 yearsa later I am still writing and look forward to what the future brings!
Who are your biggest influences?
For me it's a mixture of comic books, theatre, books and film: For comics Alan Moore, Daniel Clowes, Will Eisner. For Theatre: Harry Segall, Arthur Kopit, and Neil Labute. Books: Chad Kultgen and Tom Perotta. Film: Peter Weir, Michel Gondry, Woody Allen... too many to count!
What is your show about?
The play is about Kate, a comic book collecting grandmother, who goes on a road trip during her final months alive to the biggest Comic Book Convention in the world. Along the way she meets Mandy, a lost soul and slowly start to fall in love with each other.
What inspired you to write it?
Why I wanted to write this show is that I feel that there are not enough interesting characters for women to play. There are so many great actresses and most of the time, women are relegated to performing in shows about certain body parts. And those shows are great, but I always felt there are many more dimensions and stories that can be told about women. I also wanted to write a story about love. Not heterosexual or homosexual... just love. A story in which the gender and the sexual orientation become secondary and the emotion involved are at the forefront.
What made you want to perform in an eco-friendly theatre festival like Planet Connections?
I am impressed by the eco-friendly ideas brought forth by the festival.
We have learned a lot about how simple things like recycling set pieces, costumes, props etc, really make a difference. It is fun to learn those things in a creative setting.
Plus they donate a portion if the proceeds to charity from every show. My company in RI does the same thing. The idea of the arts being useful to helping those less fortunate is awesome and something I always want to be a part of.
What charity have you chosen and why?
Sloan Kettering Cancer Research. It fits into a lot of the themes of the play and they are a spectacular originization. It is an honor to raise money for them.
What's next for you after Planet Connections?
I am writing and directing two shows for the coming year. One is called Black Friday which debuts in Rhode Island in November 2010. It is a twisted holiday show. Then in the spring i am doing a bio play on silent film star Buster Keaton. The play, entitled Buster Keaton: Fade To Black, is a script that I have been working on and off on for the past ten or so years. However it won't be a typical bio and will be in the style more of his films... self-reflexive, inventive, and full of ideas.
And finally, if you could go back in time and meet yourself as a kid, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would say "Keep believing, young Schwartz. Your dreams will come true. Oh and don't go out with that girl on October 2 1994. She's crazy and will try to run you over with that car. Even if she says it was an accident."
The Six Month Cure
Written by Lenny Schwartz
Directed by Norah Turnham
Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission
Venue: The Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street
Fri 6/18 @ 7pm
Sat 6/19 @ 1:30pm
Sun 6/20 @ 11am
Sun 6/20 @ 8:45pm