By Byrne Harrison
Name: Ruben Carbajal
Relationship to production: Playwright
How did you first get involved in theatre?
My first production was in the fourth grade. I presented, to the horror of my teachers, a slasher horror play, inspired by "Friday the 13th." It stunk up the entire floor with Heinz ketchup.
Who are your biggest influences?
Kurt Vonnegut made me want to be a writer. Edward Albee's The Zoo Story made me want to write plays. David Bucci's work had a huge impact on me. I admire Young Jean Lee and Anne Washburn a great deal. Keith Johnstone's IMPRO is a constant source of inspiration. And lately David Shield's REALITY HUNGER has been super-energizing.
What is your show about?
To steal from Albee: about twenty five minutes. I always feel a resistance to answering questions like this, but understand that they are probably necessary. So: it's about a desperate man who calls a Mental Health Hotline, but instead of receiving help, he is sent into an automated phone directory purgatory.
What inspired you to write it?
Not entirely sure. Woke up in the middle of the night, very agitated: the play came to me suddenly and almost in its entirety. I was compelled to write until a draft was finished. This is a rare event, and has only happened to me a few times.
Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?
I think it's important to think about and understand the consequences of our actions. This applies to not only ecological concerns, but I think we should be more aware of where our food comes from, who made the clothes on our backs, under what conditions was the laptop I'm typing on right now created?
Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?
Suicide Prevention International. Unlike the hotline my protagonist dials, SPI does fantastic work funding projects that prevent suicide worldwide.
What's next for you after Planet Connections?
Think I'm going to travel to Chicago on June 27th to see the first-ever production of my short play, The Last Reader of Books, which will be a part of the Hobo Robo Sci Fi Theatre Festival.
And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?
Something dark and funny. Chocolate Mousse?
Tuesday, June 7th @ 8pm
Wednesday, June 8th @ 4pm
Sunday, June 12th @ 5pm
Saturday, June 18th @ 2pm
Sunday, June 19th @ 7:30pm
Monday, June 20th @ 6:30pm
The Gene Frankel Theatre
24 Bond Street