Thursday, April 19, 2012

Frost / Manship

A funny thing happened on my way across the countryI got (f)amous

And hell if I wasn't even around for it. 

Yes, while my work left the station last summer (that pun is worth $10), my co-conspirators ((f)amous in their own right) basked in the spotlight of the New England media.  They were working hard and are immensely talented; they deserved the attention. 

Ten months later, it's happening again.  My co-conspirators, Jeff and Melissa, will be appearing on WGBH next Thursday, April 26, to talk about "T."   I can't be there, and I'm calling, "bullshit." 

Come on, world!  The only reason I became a writer / performer in the first place is so that someday James Lipton will ask me about myself in front of hundreds of captive wannabes.  Just because I was off the grid for a month doesn't mean I couldn't have done an interview!  Just because I've now moved to Chicago doesn't mean I can't appear on local media in Boston!  Where's my face time!

Wait, why did I move to a city where no one's heard of me?  Well, if you expect me to start being accountable for my choices now, then good luck to you.  I digress. 

Wait again.  Here's someone who's heard of me.  A Mr Immadeup just walked into my office.*  What does he want?  Oh.  An interview!  Yippee!  Now?  O!K!

I'll transcribe it myself if you don't mind.

Mr Immadeup (MI): No, I don't mind.

Manship: Great, because we just started.  What's your first question?

(Audience laughs and applauds at Manship's coy humor.)

MI: Tell me about your show.

Manship:  Oh.  Great first question.  Well, it's a satirical look at the T that has some fun with Boston stereotypes along the way, but it's also a story.  Melissa and I worked very hard to keep the show about characters going on a journey, and Jeff and the cast have been true to that vision.  We don't want to create humor purely based on recognition, ala the asides in Family Guy.  We want people to be engaged in the fate of our protagonists, and I think the show, at least in the past, has succeeded in that way.  Here's hoping it does as well in two acts.

MI: There are two acts now?

Manship:  Yes, yes.  Two acts and two new songs.  The second act opener's going to blow the roof off of Oberon.  People will love it.

MI: What's that called?

Manship:  The People on the T.  You'd have to ask Melissa about it.

MI: Where is she?

Manship:  Oh, she's in Boston actually doing work on the show. 

MI: While you bask in the glory and attention of this interview?

Manship:  You got it.  Ask me some more stuff.

MI: Tell me what else is different about this version of the show.

Manship: We've ironed out some kinks since last summer.  Any script is always growing and changing, and I know I learned a lot from seeing the show on its feet the first time around, stuff that worked and stuff that didn't.  We kept stuff that worked.  I cut some stuff that didn't.  I added some stuff that probably won't work this time.  Melissa added stuff that will work, because that's what she does.  She gets it right the first time more often than I do.

MI: Maybe I should--

Manship:  No!  You're interviewing me!  Me!  Me!

(There is an awkward silence.  The crowd applauds.)

MI: I was going to say that maybe I should go see the show.

Manship:  Oh.  You should.  You should.  Opening Friday, June 8 at Oberon in Harvard Square.  10:30 pm.

MI: Tell me what else you've been up to.  Are you working on another musical?

Manship:  No, no.  Not yet.  Melissa and I have talked about it--you know, writing something more universal that we can do anywhere?  But right now this beast of burden is all we can handle.

MI: So you're not working on anything.

Manship:  On the contrary!  I've got a new play in the works, and I'm about 20,000 words into the first draft of Off Track, which is the working title of the book about my drive across the country.  I drove on vegetable oil, and I didn't shop at any chain stores or take any major highways or --

MI: Yes, yes.  That's all very nice. 

Manship:  It was glorious.  I almost got in a car and did it all over again today.

MI: What stopped you?

Manship:  It wasn't my car.

(Polite laughter from the audience.)

Manship:  I mean, I didn't have a key! 


MI: Is there anything else you would like me to ask you?

Manship: Oh, I think this entry is long en-- do the survey.

MI:  The . . . oh, that.

Manship: My favorite word right now is chthonic.  It means "related to the underworld."  But what a cool word.  I mean, "chth?"  You never see that.  It's my favorite word, and I can't even pronounce it.  I also like "bawcock," which doesn't mean what you think it means. 

MI: Fine.  What is your least favorite--

Manship:  Still "panties."  So degrading.  I mean, men don't wear "panties."  Not even boys wear "panties."

MI: Fine.  What sound or noise do you love?

Manship:  Live music, especially if it's informal.  When I was driving across the country, there was a man playing guitar at a campsite near me in New York.  He asked me at one point if he was disturbing me.  I told him that he certainly wasn't.  He was playing Johnny Cash's Hurt, but I didn't know what it was called at the time. 

MI: Wow.  That book sounds really interesting.  When is it due out?

Manship:  I was aiming for 12/12/12, but that's unlikely.  Let's hope though! 

MI:  I will!

Manship: My cousin, who is amazing and did the book layout for Cambridge Street, is having a baby.  That could delay things quite a bit.  Also, I haven't paid him yet for his work on my first book.  Or finished the second book.  That could --

MI: Fine.  What sound or noise do you hate?

Manship:  Uh, right now, a sigh.  A sigh comes from a place of sadness, defeat, and desperation.  It's the whimper of the soul.  I hate it, especially when it comes from my own mouth. 

MI: Fine.  What turns you on?

Manship: Nature.  Also, slightly nerdy girls.  Silliness.  Passion.  Fearlessness.  Definitely.  Courage.  My phone number is --

MI: Fine.  What turns you off?

Manship:  Ugh.  Greed.  Ego.  The man I saw today who catcalled a runner as she went past him.  The man who stood up my friend--

MI: Fine.  What is your favorite swear word?

Manship: I wish I had one.  I like the expression "shut the front door!"  Jeff says it all the time.

MI: Fine.  What career other than the arts would you like to undertake?

Manship:  Language.  I love language.  I'd love to be a language teacher who travels all over the world studying language.

MI: Fine.  What career other than the arts would you under no circumstances like to undertake?

Manship:  Anything that involves crawling through small spaces for an extended period of time.

MI: Fine.  That's not an answer.  Fine.  If heaven exists, what do you want to hear St Peter say to you when you reach the Pearly Gates?

Manship:  Uh . . . you got it all.  You did everything you could have.  You dug as deep as you could go.  You didn't leave one stone unturned, and you emptied every bit of yourself that you could into the world before you shuffled off.  I think that would be nice.

MI: Fine.


* I don't have an office.  


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