Friday, August 14, 2009

Fringe Q&A With Mary Adkins of The 49 Project

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Mary Adkins
Show: The 49 Project

How did you first get involved in theatre?
In sixth grade I played "Spinning Seaweed" in a community theater production of The Little Mermaid. I spun.

Who are your biggest influences?
I kind of pull ideas from everything I read. I am a huge fan of Tom Stoppard, Neil Simon, Wendy Wasserstein, David Auburn. I love Eugene O'Neill, Ibsen, Chekhov. I think Jean Genet is really great. Lately I'm enjoying reading through Neil LaBute's plays.

What is The 49 Project about?
In the world of the play, women - as 51 percent of the population - have successfully obtained majority representation in government and under power-corrupted female leadership, discriminatory policies against men have appeared. Nathan, the lead, directs a men's rights organization called The 49 Project (referring to the population stat for men). He is fed up with failure and desperate for some kind of visible change. He decides to recruit the organization's college intern, Christina, for a plan he believes will create such a change. The plan goes awry.

What inspired you to write it?
It occurred to me that if the gender distribution in a democratic government were to reflect the gender distribution in society, women would compose the majority. I thought it would be interesting to write a play about what might happen under that kind of regime.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?
Marshall Pailet is the director and we've been working together since May. He's very talented and a lovely person, generally. Jack Thomas is producing and is an old friend and mentor. The cast includes Clayton Apgar, Dylan Moore, Bryan Russell, Zoey Martinson, Alexis McGuinness and Finerty Steeves. Stage manager is Michael John Carroll, also a wonderful person.

Fringe shows are notorious for their short rehearsal schedule. How has the rehearsal process been?
I am actually working during the day so I've only been able to attend a couple of evening rehearsals. Both times I've been very impressed with what the cast has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.

What's next for you after Fringe?
The Fringe is home of the World Premiere of the play, and hopefully the play will have a life after the festival. That would be fantastic. As for me, I will keep writing. I have learned much through this process and started working on a new play this month. I'm also in law school, so that will be a priority as well.

And finally, if a genie were to grant you one wish, what would you wish for?
Eternal global peace. Just kidding, thicker hair.

The 49 Project
Jack Thomas / Bulldog Theatrical
Written by Mary Adkins
Directed by Marshall Pailet

The Studio at Cherry Lane
Tue 25 - 8:45 PM
Wed 26 - 2 PM
Thu 27 - 3 PM
Thu 27 - 7 PM
Fri 28 - 9:15 PM
Sat 29 - 5:30 PM

Visit FringeNYC for more information.

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