Me: How would you describe your show in one sentence?
Rob Baumgarter Jr.: Date of a Lifetime is about spinning a fantasy future with a new love interest.
Carl Kissin: 1 Date. 8 Minutes. 2 Lifetimes. (Okay, that’s actually three sentence fragments, but they’re very short….)
Me: What changes can we expect since the Davenport Theatricals reading?
Rob: The Davenport Theatricals reading was extremely helpful in providing very organized feedback. The crew at Davenport organized the comments in an Excel-style spreadsheet which showed where most of the audience was on board and (more importantly) the places in the show that needed changes or clarification. This made it very easy to focus our rewrites. The biggest change is giving Katie (the female love interest) more of an overt voice in Marvin’s fantasy (Act I of the show).
Carl: We spent some time developing the third act, hashing out what actually happens when the characters interact in real time. It wasn’t until we started developing Date of a Lifetime for a reading with Davenport Theatrical that we started to realize that this show could be as touching as it was funny. Sometimes, truly touching moments can be funny, and vice-versa. Ultimately, Date of a Lifetime is about love. And, let’s face it - in practice, love is about as hilarious/crazy/ridiculous as it gets. It’s also heart-wrenching and sometimes scary. We want to celebrate all of that with our audience.
Me: Date of a Lifetime has extended fantasy sequences. How are they being staged/interpreted for this production?
Carl: We can’t divulge too much. We do know that the environment we’re creating, both through set design and staging, will be full of surprises, and will enable to actors to explore both reality and fantasy worlds with lots of creativity.
Rob: The conceit of the show is that is each character projects a future onto the relationship, both actors play scenes from this ‘future.’ The specific fantasy sequences are being staged in as many ways as creativity will allow, but always grounded in the idea that they are a projection of one of the characters, and not necessarily reality.
Me: I loved the role music played in conversation with the two characters in the show. What role would you say the music plays in Date of a Lifetime?
Rob: One of my favorite things about Date of a Lifetime is how unassuming and self-effacing the characters are. For me, the songs add an extra layer of heart and honesty to the self-consciousness these characters sometimes feel. I think there is something beautifully innocent and fundamentally brave about two people on a first date. I tried to capture that mix of fear, hope and bravery in the music.
Carl: These characters are very creative and visionary, and we like to think that the music elevates the fantasy sequences to a more heightened dramatic level, while also allowing the audience connect to it with greater understanding and appreciation. (Also, our performers are insanely talented singers, so we like that our music allows them to show off their chops.)
Me: What are you most looking forward to about NYMF?
Rob: Sitting in your apartment or at the coffee shop working on a show can be a very isolating experience. But the big, amazing pay-off is how many people you get to interact with when you are lucky enough to take a show to the next level. I’m excited to be working with a bunch of new people, and I’m excited to hear people laugh!
Carl: I love seeing a great director and actors take my writing and make it funnier, sexier, and more poignant. I think Jeremy Dobrish, Farah Alvin, and Jamie LaVerdiere are brilliant. They surprise and delight me at every turn. I also look forward to misting up like a big wussy in front of my producer Liz Ulmer on opening night, when I tell her how much I appreciate her tireless dedication to this project. Without her, there is no show, just a crazy writer sitting at his computer, not knowing what to do next. Lastly, but not leastly, I look forward to having my collaborator Rob Baumgartner's beautiful music floating around my head for the rest of my life.