Playwright Phil Paradis will have three of his one-act plays showcased this week beginning on Valentine's Day (February 14th) and running until Sunday, the 18th at The Beckman Theater at The American Theatre of Actors. This very limited engagement is directed by Art Bernal and is produced by James Jennings, ATA's Artistic Director. The three plays are "Whistle Stop Romance," "Racquetball", and "Sunny Side." We had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Paradis about his work and this showcase.
LocalTheatreNY.com: Tell us about your plays, specifically about these three short plats at ATA. When did you write them, what are they about, and how did they end up on the stage at ATA?
Phil Paradis: I started writing plays around 1990, but nothing was produced until 2008. I thought I should start with one-acts, so I went through a phase where that's all I wrote. I have been working on full-lengths for several years now. All of my plays are developed in workshops with actors and directors. "Sunny Side" focuses on two elderly strangers who meet; it's my most popular short, and was my first short produced. "Sunny Side" has been around-- LA, Cincinnati, San Diego, Louisville, and even Spokane. "Whistle Stop Romance" is set in 1927 and is my only historical short. Racquetball is about the tenure game in academe.
LocalTheatreNY.com: What kind of plays do you typically write? Are there themes you prefer, genres that motivate you? And where dos the idea for your plays geminate?
Phil Paradis: I've written a couple dozen one-acts, ten minutes to an hour, dramas mostly but some zany comedies and satires too. Some might qualify as dramedies. Three completed full-lengths are inspired by history. I don't want to drive a spike through their hearts by calling them "historical plays." Two new full-lengths I'm working on are more contemporary in subject matter. Each play germinates differently; I just have to pay attention and nurture the sprouts whenever I discover them.
LocalTheatreNY.com: Do you have the opportunity to write full length plays? If so, tell us about that and what you worked on recently.
Phil Paradis: Yes, I have been working on full-lengths for several years. My first full-length was Soldier's Christmas about the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914. It was produced at Northern Kentucky University and I'm hoping it will get picked up for a second go this year which is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Evening with Stephen Crane, a one-man show, was produced in Newport, KY and I'm hoping it will get picked up by a theater in one of Crane's old stomping grounds here in Manhattan. A third full-length is about the Dora Clark Affair and author Stephen Crane and Teddy Roosevelt when TR was New York Police Commissioner in 1896. It has been in development for some time and had readings. Another new full-length, more contemporary style play has been workshopped; and another is in the early workshop phase.
LocalTheatreNY.com: As a playwright, what are your aspirations for your work? Are they available for production? Are you looking to produce more? Where is Phil Paradis and his plays going next?
Phil Paradis: I want my work to be actable; playable. Beyond that I want it to be original, engaging and to provide the audience with a worthwhile experience so they become emotionally and intellectually invested in the story. Sure, I have plays begging for production; look me up or see philparadis.com for details. I've directed and produced some, but I'd much rather write, and leave the directing and producing to the pros. Where next? Wherever my laptop, notebook and pen take me, hopefully to partnerships with theater companies that like my work and want to collaborate.
LocalTheatreNY.com: Anything new you are working on that we can expect to see in the near future? If so, please share.
Phil Paradis: I have a one-man show script EVENING WITH STEPHEN CRANE that was up on its feet in Kentucky but needs to find a stage in New Jersey or New York, Stephen Crane's old stomping grounds. You see Crane was born and raised in NJ and worked as a reporter in NY before he hit it big as the author of The Red Badge of Courage. I admit a fascination with Stephen Crane, reporter, poet, war correspondent, acclaimed story writer and novelist; Crane made his mark in a few short years and died at the ripe old age of 28.
AN EVENING OF THREE ONE-ACT PLAYS BY PHIL PARADIS: RACQUETBALL, WHISTLE STOP ROMANCE, and SUNNY SIDE is directed by Art Bernal and produced by ATA Artistic Director James Jennings. Actors featured are: WHISTLE STOP ROMANCE Elena Crociani, Justin Younts; SUNNY SIDE Patricia Hart, Joseph Leone; RACQUETBALL Chris Ostrowski and Dan Wuerdeman. Stage manager is Jessica Newman.
Playing at The American Theatre of Actors, 314 West 54th St., New York City, NY, at the Beckman Theater, 2nd Floor, Wednesday-Sunday February 14-18 (Wed-Th-Fri-Sat at 8 pm; Sunday at 3 pm), Tickets $15 at door only.
it big as the author of The Red Badge of Courage.