Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Planet Connections Interview - David Stallings of "The Stranger to Kindness"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: David Stallings
Play: The Stranger to Kindness
Relationship to production: Playwright
Website: http://www.stallingswrites.com/the-stranger-to-kindness.html

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I was often alone as a child, but rather than have me watch regular television, my mother would set me in front of a classic - at an early age I fell in love with George Bernard Shaw and Noël Coward without even knowing it. I wrote my first play at five - which my mother still has - my dialogue was told through pictures like a storyboard. She started taking me to auditions thinking that I wanted to be an actor, little did she know that I would end up being a playwright as well.

Who are your biggest influences?

George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare... I believe in big plays with big characters.

What is your show about?

The Stranger to Kindness is about an elderly woman who believes her best friend has died alone in her apartment. It is a piece about aging, loneliness and ultimately kindness.

What inspired you to write it?

An older friend of mine described to me the passing of her friend. It had been some time before her body was discovered - she had died alone.

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

It wasn't. At least not at first. I was drawn to the festival because of their mission to pair up the shows with a charity. I was part of the festival last year and because of it I learned so much about sustainability, eco-friendly producing and taking care of our planet, that believe it or not it is now an important factor in choosing a festival.

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

We are raising funds for RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) - we like to pair up the charity with a theme of the play.

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

My play Barrier Island (Part 1 of the Galveston Cycle) is having a reading in Tulsa, OK directed by Cody Daigle; my play Anaïs Nin Goes to Hell is receiving industry readings this fall towards a future production. I'm also writing a new piece, The Quality of Mercy, about a young couple not allowed to adopt a child because of their restricted Christian views.

And finally, if you could get any person, living or dead, to see this show who would you choose and why?

My father - he's never been able to see my plays because he's a truck driver and never in any one place for too long.

The Stranger to Kindness
Friday, June 3rd @ 6pm
Saturday, June 4th @ 11:30am
Tuesday, June 14th @ 6:30pm
Wednesday, June 15th @ 8:45pm
Saturday, June 18th @ 4:00pm
Thursday, June 23rd @ 4:00pm

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

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