By Byrne Harrison
Daniel will be directing "Firework for Real" in the Planet Connections festival.
How did you first get involved in theatre?
I started out acting in plays and musicals throughout high school. I tried directing in my junior and senior year and was instantly hooked.
Who are your biggest influences?
As a director, I like to explore character, narrative structure and physical action. I’m not big into abstract expression; I associate mostly with well-composed, visceral imagery. I look to film directors for inspiration- Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Sam Mendes, Gus Van Sant & Sidney Lumet.
What is your show about?
"Firework for Real" is about a world-class musical artist whose top-secret writing technique comes to surface after a series of ill-timed events.
How did you get involved with it?
I’ve known the playwright (Daria Tavana) for years now and have been around for every incarnation of the script since 2009 - once as Daria’s fellow classmate and once as a designer. I’ve never directed it, but I’m excited to take what we already know about the play and the character and turn it completely upside-down.
Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?
We’re presenting this on behalf of True False Theatre, which was founded in 2011 by Anni Weisband and Daria Tavana. True False Theatre (TFT) is a new and exciting theatre company dedicated to exciting and empowering the community. Visit us at http://www.truefalsetheatre.org/ or facebook.com/truefalsetheatre or on twitter @TrueFalseNYC. We’re always have events or fundraisers going on and we love seeing new faces.
We are so proud to have board members in the show (Kahlil X. Daniel, Jessica Lit), our co-founder as the lead character (Anni Weisband), a frequent collaborator joining us (Mia Pinchoff), and the only person besides Daria who has been involved in each of the three productions of Firework for Real (Brandon Zelman). I’ve been working with these wonderfully talented people consistently- some for 5 years now, some for less than a year.
Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?
True False Theatre believes in giving back to the community in whatever capacity we can. We don’t believe in art for art’s sake. Art cannot exist without the community and vice versa; it’s a reciprocal relationship and we strongly believe that. Plus, producing on a dime is always a welcome challenge for us, so we were eager to take the festival up on its offer.
Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?
We have chosen The Ali Forney Center as our charity. The Ali Forney Center helps homeless LGBTQ youth who have been ousted from their homes find a second beginning within a warm, welcoming community. For us, it was an obvious choice. First- a large portion of our company identifies as LGBTQ. All of us have been very blessed to say we have received support and guidance from our parents and peers. Sadly, the same cannot be said for others and we want to do our part to extend support to our disadvantaged brothers and sisters.
What's next for you and your company after Planet Connections?
True False Theatre is always hosting events and fundraisers to help us bankroll the art we are so passionate about creating. Next up, we will be producing Daria Tavana’s "A Sleeping Hound to Wake" at a to-be-determined venue. It will be directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky (http://www.dmitryt.com/) and will be presented sometime in early 2013. If you want to do your part to help us realize our goal, consider making a donation at IndieGoGo: http://www.indiegogo.com/sleepinghound
For more information, visit http://www.truefalsetheatre.org/ or planetconnections.org/firework-for-real/