Sunday, June 13, 2010

Too Soon Festival Interview - Danny Bowes and Jillian Tully of Chemistry

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Danny Bowes and Jillian Tully
Play: Chemistry
Relationship to production: Danny: co-author, actor, director; Jillian: (takes a deep breath) I am one of the two playwrights. I am also playing the male lead, designing the costumes and sound cues, and assisting the director. You know, now that I think of it, I'm kind of a co-producer, too. How's that for a relationship? Maybe we need to start thinking about giving each other some space, taking a break, possibly even seeing other people...
Website: The official Facebook event invitation page for Chemistry

How long have you been involved in theatre?

Danny: I wrote my first play in high school, and started acting in college, so about 15 and 13 years respectively.

Jillian: Consciously? Since about 4th grade... but one could argue that I've been giving acting choices as far back as when they were merely compensation for being too young to write my own name or form coherent sentences. Oh wow, that sounds terrible. Let's just stick with 4th grade, then.

What play had the biggest influence on your life?

Danny: Betrayal by Harold Pinter, for the use of what appears to be a gimmick at first---the backward structure---but what actually turns out to be an essential part of the play being as emotionally powerful as it is.

Jillian: Hands down - Pippin. I was taken to see a high school production of it when I was about 9 years old. I'd always liked musicals and dance, coming from a theatrical family and all, but this was the first show I had seen that looked, sounded and felt like what I wanted to be doing. The face paint, the folky, pop-informed music, the costumes - there was this sort of DIY, punk rock playfulness to this awesome show about a guy trying to find his place in the world that gobsmacked me then and still stays with me now. I actually have a tattoo of a Pippin Apple; I got it to celebrate my first full year of making theatre my career, you know, finding my "corner of the sky" and what have you.

What is your show about?

Danny: As Marlo Stanfield once mumbled malignantly "You want it to be one way . . . but it's the other way." More specifically, it's about a relationship where one party is at the beginning and the other is at the end. And, in that sense, it's about the different way men and women view relationships, and since Jillian and I are playing each other, about each trying to understand the other.

Jillian: ...How awesome Mexican pop music is. No, that's not right - it's a boy-meets-girl story, only, of course, gender-switched. Which I guess makes it a girl-as-boy-meets-boy-as-girl story, then?

What led you to create it?

Danny: The initial idea was Jillian and I writing the story of how we met together, which was soon followed by the idea of each other in drag. It's kind of hard to say what led us to that, though whiskey and insomnia are probably high up on my list.

Jillian: These questions! Doozies, they are. This play was born out of the very true events contained within it. I can't speak for anyone else, but sometimes life can feel scripted... so, why the hell not write one? The progression from off-the-cuff idea to the actual production has been crazy; I have had the thought during this process that this must be what the editors of reality TV feel like. No... I think Danny and I are way cooler than any reality show "personalities", if only because we listen to Mexican pop music.

What inspired you to apply for the Too Soon Festival?

Danny: Our entire show is about things being too soon. It's that simple. And we came up with it before they announced the festival theme!

Jillian: Well, both Danny and I are part of the lovely little Island of Misfit Toys that orbit The Brick... and serendipity? Happenstance? We had a story on our hands that could easily be a business meeting presentation on the concept of "too soon". In fact, even our submission went in before the real-life story's conclusion had happened. The amount of meta is making my eyes cross. I love it.

What's next for you after Too Soon?

Danny: Getting my movie production company, Seedy Kay Films, off the ground, and working on a couple scripts I want to film.

Jillian: I have started work on designing costumes for the play Father Of Lies, written and directed by Jose Zayas, which will be going up in July as part of PS122's Undergroundzero Festival, as well as returning to the handful of musical theatre projects in development that have me on their cast list, recording my next EP with my band, rainy day assembly, singing in the subway and of course, continuing my campaign to convince my cats to let me pick them up and hug them.

And finally, if you could slow the world down and get two more hours out of every day, what would you do with them?

Danny: Probably spend most of the two hours trying to scheme a way to squeeze another two out of the deal, and the last minute or so pondering the notions of futility and irony.

Jillian: Check Facebook. I wish you could see my lack of ability to keep a straight face there. My usual shift as a subway musician is two hours - I'd do that. Or, you know... play with my cats.

Written by Danny Bowes and Jillian Tully
Directed by Danny Bowes
75 minutes

Sun 6/6, 5pm
Fri 6/11, 7:30pm
Sat 6/12, 10:45pm
Tue 6/15, 8:45pm
Thu 6/17, 7pm

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