10 questions remixed: Anger

1) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
All of it. Every last consonant and mother-fucking vowel bleeds anger. Every shitty fucking sound cue and half-assed piece of shit lighting change in my shows are chosen while very angry. All the fucking posters and handbills and shitty little websites I make on my stupid fucking MacBook are all pieces of shit but apparently necessary to promote the dumb fucking shows I have chosen to . . .

2) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
None.

3) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
What kind of stupid fucking question is that? You’re lucky you live on the other side of the country Mackenzie, or I’d punch you right in the face.

Actually, my first hit was: anger? Me? Whaddya mean, I’m not angry…am I? And of course, a look back at my body of work to date reveals that there’s levels of anger in the genesis of all of it, which, upon further consideration, is as close an approximation to my personal definition of the true nature of art as I have ever considered. The play I’m working on right now, set in a bar, is entirely about the consequences of anger, as a matter of fact. Revelatory, thank you.

David Tompa (L) and Glen McDonald (R).

4) How much of your artistic process is informed by a sense of anger?
Less anger and more frustration. Theatre and film can be such powerful mediums. When I see product out there that isn’t really trying then it feels like such a waste. It gives the industry a bad name and gives people permission to expect less when they go out to see a show. We should be constantly pushing to challenge ourselves and our audiences.

5) How much of your artistic process is informed by a sense of anger?
None! (I’ll fucking kill you for even suggesting it.)

6) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
anger is very important in my work, especially when it can be transformed into inspiration. anger is an emotion that can tell you when a situation is very wrong and if channeled carefully can lead to some amazing questions. for my own process, anger has always been a gem. in my most angered moments I have learnt so much about myself, so much about the ways in which I am growing and all the room I have left to grow. I have also learnt about my ability to be courageous in the face of ostracization. mostly, when I have looked deeply at my anger I have realized that it masked a deeper hurt and pain. so my anger has also taught me about my humanity. and in turn about other people’s humanity. as artists it is also our business to deeply investigate the ways people’s humanities (womb)manifest. I use anger in my work both to inform characters and to inform subject matter.

7) What are you angry about?
Stupid. Stupid makes me angry.

Voting for a president who you’d like to have a beer with? Stupid.

Banning smoking because Communism fell and we all needed another enemy is stupid.

Dumbing down our educational system by making it more about taking tests than learning and then complaining about how thuggish, drunk and vapid kids are is stupid.

Legally Blond The Musical? – stupid.

Doing NOTHING about Global Warming? Myopic and stupid.

Not impeaching our corrupt Executive Branch but investigating Baseball? S-T-U-P-I-D.

Defining basic sadness as clinical depression in order to boost anti-depressant sales – stupid AND corrupt.

There’s a lot of stupid out there. All you have to do is open your eyes and be amazed.

8) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
Honestly, not much. Heartbreak, often, but not anger. At least, not yet.

Erika Batdorf
Photo by David Leyes.

9) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
Hmmm, I think that was done several pieces ago. Although sometimes I have to rustle up some righteous indignation to keep me going in the business aspect of the work! But not artistically.

Mac Rogers.
Photo by Saundra Yaklin.

10) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
Almost none of it. My work is informed by terror. I start from a place of weakness and fear, and try to see where it leads. I have the liberal’s weakness, of seeing an injustice in society and instead of doggedly and dogmatically trying to fix it, at any cost to anything else, I go to self analysis mode, wondering what I and others who resemble me may have done to allow this injustice to exist, and what weakness in ourselves may have led us to do that thing. I learned this reaction from reading the works of Wallace Shawn in my mid–twenties, which was incredibly influential on me.

The one thing I ever wrote from anger was this big goofy musical I cowrote with Sean and Jordy called Fleet Week, which was sort of a gay On The Town, but written in reaction to learning about the number of voters who cited a dislike of gay marriage as a key reason to re-elect George Bush. The show is mostly smutty comedy, but it’s angry smutty comedy.

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