Monday, February 20, 2012

FRIGID Festival Interview - Bill Stiteler of "Man Saved By Condiments!"

By Byrne Harrison

Bill Stiteler is the co-founder of Theatre Arlo, and the writer/director of “Watching Porn” and “THACO,” the latter of which he adapted into a short film. He co-wrote and directed “Macbeth: the Video Game Remix,” and directed the music video for “Re: Your Brains” by Jonathan Coulton, and in 1999 directed the full-text production of “The Reign of King Edward III,” recently authenticated as a work of Shakespeare.

Show: "Man Saved By Condiments!"

How did you first get involved in theatre?

The sign said “Extras needed for High School Play. NO LINES. GUARANTEED TO BE CAST.” I’ve been looking for those two guarantees ever since.

Who are your biggest influences?

I look to Peter Brook who has this wonderful idea that shows should first of all be entertaining to an audience. But he’s not advocating pandering or mindless theater, but artistry married to having a good time sitting in front of a stage.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

It’s based on the true story of a man who was trapped in his car for five days, and survived by eating the condiment packets he found in his car. As the time goes on, he starts to go crazy and has to keep talking to himself to stay awake.

What inspired you to produce it?

I saw the show when it premiered five years ago and fell in love with it. In addition to a funny, insightful script, I loved the idea of the limitations it imposed. The actor is trapped in the car, in the driver’s seat for the entire performance, but it’s still a very physical show. And he’s not a character with a lot of insight about himself, which makes it a hard journey for him.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

I’m knocked out by the people I get to work out. I first encountered Tim Uren (our actor) when he was doing a one-man show called "10,000 Comic Books" which was about his collection and the nature of why people collect things. Matthew Foster was the co-founder and playwright of  a Minneapolis collective  that mixed pop culture and politics, and Mary Jo Pehl was an actor and writer on "Mystery Science Theater 3000," perhaps the most influential show I’ve ever seen in terms of my sense of humor. The idea that I’m able to get all these people to work on a show with me... I can’t tell you how that feels. I’m still not sure it’s not some kind of a prank they’re all collectively pulling.

What's next for you after FRIGID?

 We’re taking the show to the Montreal Fringe Festival in June, and possibly the Amsterdam Fringe after that, and we have to get ready for our beloved Minnesota Fringe in August.

And finally, who is your ideal potential audience?

People who are willing to look at a man at his absolute worse and laugh in recognition.

"Man Saved By Condiments!"
By Mary Jo Pehl
Directed by Bill Stiteler and Matthew Foster

The Red Room
85 E. 4th Street

Feb 23, 9:30PM
Feb 25, 11:00PM
Feb 26, 3:30PM
Feb 28, 6:30PM
Mar 02, 11:00PM
Mar 03, 9:30PM
$12.00 / $14.00

1 comment:

deb said...

Way to go Bill. Proud to say I've known him since before he was conceived. Always been a unique fella and it's taken him far. Congratulations.