Thursday, June 3, 2010

Planet Connections Interview - Andrew Rothkin of Danny

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Kim M. Jones

Name: Andrew Rothkin
Play: Danny
Relationship to production: Playwright, Director and Co-Producer

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I started off as an actor many, many years ago and began to write as a means of staying creative between acting roles…and bit by bit, the writing took over and took on a life of its own. Little by little, I began to experiment with other aspects of theatre: directing, producing, designing, teaching… I have worn a lot of theatrical hats – but there is still much I still want to try!

Who are your biggest influences?

When I was starting out, I had some amazing instructors and directors who not only instructed me, but inspired me beyond measure. While I still study acting periodically and I continue to learn from great directors, playwrights and actors, I am mostly influenced by my friends/peers, who are constantly upping the stakes of the work and providing higher and higher measures of excellence to live up to.

What is Danny about?

A group of old college friends gathers for food, laughter, stories and songs, and to honor their old friend Danny...all by the side of his grave. While their sweet celebration goes on year after year, this year, some secrets are revealed and the friends are forced to look in on their own lives, on their friendships and their dreams – and they will never be the same.

What inspired you to write and direct it?

I had produced an earlier draft of the play twice before – many, many years ago…but it felt like the time was right to bring Danny back, and for the first time, to direct it myself. The initial impulse came from a dear friend of mine who visited a deceased friend of hers every year on the same day…

What made you want to perform in an eco-friendly theatre festival like Planet Connections?

My initial reason for getting involved with Planet Connections was to work with Glory Bowen, a longtime friend and colleague...but learning about keeping things green and conserving our world and natural resources has been a great and important lesson! I am very happy to be a part of it!

Planet Connections is fairly unique in that a portion of the box office for each show is donated to a charity. What charity have you chosen and why?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I have long been a lover and supporter of animals – like the Danny of my play…and I am delighted to have a chance to finally give back to the animal world.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

I am directing Meri Wallace’s short play FB and will portray The Devil in Jonathan Wallace’s Slap the Devil, both part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. I have several pieces I am writing in various stages of development.

And finally, if you could go back in time and meet yourself as a kid, what advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be in such a rush. Do what you love and take your time. (I also would have told myself to invest all my money in Microsoft.)

Written and Directed by Andrew Rothkin
Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Kelly Johnston
Set Designer: Starlet Jacobs

Starring: Amada Anderson, Jason Barker, Marc Graiser, James Kaliardos, James Pravasilis and Charlё Webb

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission

Venue: Green Room Theatre, Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street (downstairs), 45 Bleecker Street

Performance dates:
Thurs 6/3 @ 4:30pm
Sun 6/6 @ 6:30pm
Sat 6/12 @ 3pm
Sun 6/20 @ 8:30pm
Thurs 6/24 @ 4:30pm
Sun 6/27 @ 6:30pm

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