Monday, March 26, 2012

A Few Minutes with Playwright Duncan Pflaster

By Byrne Harrison

Duncan Pflaster has won awards for his plays The Empress of Sex, Prince Trevor Amongst the Elephants, The Thyme of the Season, The Starship Astrov, Sweeter Dreams, Eternity: Time Without End, and The Tragedy of Dandelion. Other plays include The Wastes of Time, Suckers, Admit Impediments, Sleeping in Tomorrow, and Ore, or Or, as well as a panoply of one-acts. Prince Trevor Amongst the Elephants, The Thyme of the Season, The Starship Astrov are published online at Indie Theater Now. He also writes sketch comedy with the video troupe Laughing Swingset, whose work can be seen on YouTube and Funny or Die. He is also an award-winning actor (2009 MITF Award, Outstanding Supporting Actor, I Hate Love) and theatre reviewer (2nd Place in Stage and Cinema's 2010 Theater Review Contest). Website

First, I have to say that you seem to be a great fan of the whole Kickstarter funding model. In fact you funded last year's "Sweeter Dreams" through Kickstarter. How much are you trying to raise for your current production and what will it go toward?

I'm trying to raise $5,000 for this show. Most of the money will go toward paying the cast and crew- this is an unusually large cast of 13 men. Money will also go toward costumes, props, rehearsal space and publicity. Especially the latter - there's no point in doing a show if no one knows about it!

This new play is "The Taint of Equality" which will be produced as part of this year's Planet Connections festival. I was lucky enough to see a staged reading of this gay sex farce, and thought it was a riot (in no small part due to the amazing cast you put together for the reading). For those who didn't see the reading, could you describe the show?

Adrian and Javier are a gay couple who don't believe in marriage - but everyone keeps assuming they are or should be married. When they realize it might be because they've never actually opened up their "open relationship," they decide to each go out and get laid, with hilariously erotic results.

So where do you fall in the gay marriage debate? Good for the LGBT community, or just another attempt to mimic heteronormative ideals?

I think marriage should not be a governmental issue - I think all couples should be joined equally by the state in civil unions that afford them legal protections and so forth, and if they want to have a religion-of-their-choice, non-legal marriage ceremony to supplement that, that's fine, too.

What inspired this particular show?

It's loosely inspired by a turn-of-the-previous-century ten-minute play called "Another Way Out", by Lawrence Langner. It's about a terribly modern heterosexual couple living together without being married. It's amusing, though wildly outdated. I took the basic idea, changed it to a same-sex couple to reflect current marriage politics, then added more characters and some more farcical complications to wind it out to a full-length play. Most plays take me a year or so to write; once I had the idea for it, this one took me two months.

Back to Kickstarter for a minute. Most Kickstarter campaigns offer incentives for the people who donate. What are you offering to your backers?

For only $1, you'll be listed in our program as a contributor (everyone who donates gets that); for $5 I will write you a personal haiku or limerick; for $25, I'll write you a Sonnet, Ballade, or Villanelle; for $50 I will write you a song or perform a cover song of your choice on my ukulele to be posted to YouTube or delivered in person; $100 gets you a hi-res digital photograph of the hottie cast; $150 I will do a one-day photo shoot with you; $500 or more gets you the digital photo plus two tickets to the show, $1,000 or more will get you the digital photo, two tickets and song or poem of your choice.

I'm already down to write some 21 poems and three songs. Gonna be a busy couple of months, if we make the goal. And of course, if we don't make our goal by the deadline (April 1st), no one gets charged and we won't get any of the money.

Can you do an off-the-cuff limerick or haiku to our readers to convince them to back your production?

Please send us a pledge, I implore;
I promise it won't be a bore:
The Taint of Equality
Is full of frivolity
With mischief and insight galore!

To contribute to Duncan's Kickstarter Campaign, click here.

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