Monday, July 9, 2012

5-Question NYMF Interviews: HE'S NOT HIMSELF

In the next show in our 5-question interview series, protagonist Gene finds himself unconsciously living a double life in the musical comedy He's Not Himself by Marc Silverberg. Having a previous production as a part of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, He's Not Himself is a NYMF Next Link selection full of hilarity, adventure, and gangsters. Below, Marc shares more about his show and what to expect from the NYMF production:

Me: How would you describe your show in one sentence?

Marc Silverberg: A non-stop comedy romp, with a traditional jazz score.

Me: How does a comedy/farce translate into a musical in He's Not Himself?

Marc: Very few musicals that I have seen incorporate the style of theatre known as farce, probably because it’s a very difficult thing to do. To properly execute a farce, the show must establish a plot that involves mistaken identities, constant confusion among the characters, misunderstandings, and climax in a non-stop chase that has characters running in and out of entrances as quickly as possible. Traditionally, musicals focus more on the music than the story, and I wanted to write a musical that focused equally on both, while still trying to be as silly as possible.

Me: You seem to have a lot of choir/a cappella experience. Has that had any influence on writing the music for He's Not Himself?

Marc: Being rooted in choral music and a cappella music for most of my life has given me opportunities to study with some of the greatest musicians and teachers in the country. By traveling and collecting information on how to compose, arrange, and understand music, I had the knowledge I needed to try my hand at composing a musical theatre score. In my opinion, music and theatre go hand in hand, and I was able to take the skills from one and translate them to the other.

Me: How has the show evolved since its productions at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity?

Marc: The production that was seen at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity was the seventh draft of the show. The production that will be seen at NYMF is the eleventh draft of the show. With every draft, the script keeps getting tweaked until we are all satisfied with the outcome. There aren’t many big changes in terms of the script- unless someone was in the audience for all six performances, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. The major changes involved the big chase scene at the end (we just wanted to include more action, and make it a little longer) and many of the lyrics in the songs have changed. In terms of the overall production, we feel that the show audiences will see at NYMF is much stronger than in past incarnations. We have a bigger budget, more time to rehearse, and lots of support from the festival.

Me: What are you most looking forward to about NYMF?

Marc: I’m hoping that the popularity of NYMF will bring awareness to this show and draw more audience members. We were chosen as a Next Link project, which gave us a huge amount of support and insider info, allowing us to hire the right people and promote the show effectively. It has been a dream of mine to present a show in NYMF, and now I looking forward to seeing that dream become a reality.

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