Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sex! Music! Technology! Playwright Lucas Kavner's Carnival Kids presented by Lesser America

 "The energy and talent and producing power that this little company has is pretty incredible."
-Lucas Kavner 

What is Carnival Kids about?

I've been saying Carnival Kids is about an out-of-work former rock musician who moves in with his son and roommate in New York City and falls into a complicated money-making scheme, but that neglects to mention the other characters who populate the play. It's also about how much of ourselves we reveal to the people we love, and whether we're ever really able to shift and change or improve the guts of who we really are. Also sex! And music! And technology!

Jake Choi and Laura Ramadei
What was its inspiration?
I saw a guy doing laundry in my basement with his son and I came to realize that he had very likely moved into his son's apartment. I'd also recently done a show with a group of authentic, talented and charming Southern musicians and I wanted to write about the way they were in the world and how people responded to them. Then I sandwiched those together into a character piece about a bunch of weird people living in New York City.

Max Jenkins and Randall Newsome
What has its development been and how did you get involved with Lesser America?

We'd done a few readings before I got involved with Lesser America, in writing groups, and another with Naked Angels, but it wasn't until the Lesser Am's got involved that it really got cooking. I've known Stephen Brackett for a long time and he's a member of the company, so he passed it along to them. I must say the energy and talent and producing power that this little company has is pretty incredible. When they like something, they just do everything they can to put it up, with an amazing team of people behind them.

How do you like to collaborate with your directors?
Danelle Eliav and Randall Newsome
Pretty closely. I've never been one of those writers who is super precious with cutting or revising if
something isn't working. I respect their opinion and they're watching the thing every day, too, so I like to hear when they think something could be changed for the better.

What is your writing schedule and where do you typically write? 

I used to work as a reporter during the day, so I would have to write in spurts in the morning and during breaks and on weekends, but now I'm freeeeeee to write all day, which I usually don't do. BUT! I write at
Lucas Kavner's workspace
least 4-5 hours a day, and usually at my dining room table or at a coffee shop near my house, which is inside a Brownstone and feels like writing at someone else's nice house with coffee. I've had many desks throughout my life and can't seem to ever want to work on them, for reasons that elude me.

Salty or sweet?

Oh god, both. Both. Not a possible choice, by any means.

What's next?

Finishing up a play commission from E.S.T, then doing another tour of this Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical I've been working on for a long while. Also working on a bunch of TV/Film projects, currently in development with various places. I still perform improv with hello at the Peoples Improv Theater every Friday at 9:30 and I love doing that very much. The improv and theatre worlds should be more integrated, I think.

Lucas Kavner’s Carnival Kids is presented by Lesser America and directed by Stephen Brackett with Jake Choi, Danelle Eliav, Max Jenkins, Randall Newsome and Laura Ramadei,
at the TBG Theatre (312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue) June 5-28. Purchase tickets here.

Photo Credits: Danny Ghitis

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