Monday, March 3, 2014

FRIGID New York Interview - Rob Matsushita of "Boogie of the Apes"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Boogie Of The Apes
Photo credit: Dan Myers

Rob Matsushita is a playwright, author, actor, filmmaker and now, a podcaster, with a new show called "10 Minutes About Your Favorite Movie," which is available on iTunes. He can also be seen in the web series "Chad Vader," as the often-abused Lloyd. He has written and produced over ten full-length shows, and his short plays have been performed in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. You can also check out his work on his official page, 
Tell me a little about your show.

"Boogie Of The Apes" is a lightning-fast parody/summary of the first four Planet Of The Apes movies, using read-along comic books from the 1970's. Also, like any good '70s comedy/variety show, we have dance numbers.

What inspired you to create it?

This is actually one in a series of plays! Our first of was "Superhero Boogie," and our next one is (possibly) going to be called "Christmas Boogie." (Or "Holiday Boogie," depending on what material we find.)

Ever since I was a kid, and I used to listen to these records all the time, I've wanted to do a show like this, lip-syncing them. Of course, then, I didn't want to do it ironically. "Superhero Boogie" was so much fun to do, I just need to do another one. The Planet Of The Apes series all kind of fit together like one long, insane story, and so it was a natural to do next.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

Heather Renken and Broom Street Theater, here in Madison, Wisconsin, has been instrumental in getting us off the ground, and Dan Myers, an actor in the show, was nice enough to let us rehearse at Broom Street and use the building while his own playwriting debut, "Chat" has been rehearsing. (It's running in Madison at the same time we're running in New York.) Also, Rick Vorndran has been our eyes and ears in New York City as our Venue Liaison, and my mother, Geraldine Matsushita, has also provided some much needed help at the right time.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

There's a lot of little specific references to the Planet Of The Apes series throughout the show, as well as little references to other sci-fi movies and shows. If you were a kid in the '70s, you'll probably get a lot out of this show. But we've had plenty of audience members who were younger or older, or who never saw the original movies, and all of them have laughed a lot.
As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

For this show, I was influence by the original Pee Wee Herman Show--not the Saturday morning show from the '80s, but the original stage show. Also, there's a hilarious play called "Bullshot Crummond" that I drew from a lot.
What other shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

As many as I can! I was at the first annual FRIGID New York, and saw 22 shows in five days! Of course, I'm going to go and see "I Shall Forget You Presently," because I'm friends with The Dysfunctional Theatre Company. They did my play "Orange Murder Suit" at that first festival.

What's else does 2014 hold for you?

I'm writing and directing another show for Broom Street in May, called "Civil," which will be my first sci-fi show. It's a futuristic courtroom drama. I've never written a serious sci-fi show before, and wanted to try one.

Lightning round
Favorite playwright?  Currently, it's Martin McDonagh, although he says he doesn't write plays anymore.

Show you would love to be involved with?  Always wanted to do the aforementioned "Bullshot Crummond."

Favorite venue?  Gotta stay with home court: Broom Street.

Favorite actor?  Paul Giamatti.

Best theatre experience?  Playing Detective Tupolski in "The Pillowman." Also "Superhero Boogie" was a great time.

Worst theatre experience?  I once directed a show where an actor felt that closing night was optional if you drink and play kickball just before the show. She'd just had a kidney removed. I am not making any of this up.

Person you’d most like to thank?  In general, my cast deserves all the thanks I have.

For more about "Boogie of the Apes," visit the FRIGID New York website.