Chat w/ Dan Fishback
The down and dirty:
Go see Dan Fishback’s new play:
at Dixon Place
April 17 & 18 at 10pm; April 21 & 22 at 8pm
So I caught opening night last weekend – my first event at the new Dixon Place -which looks beautiful. Earl Dax, curator of the HOT! festival introduced the show by hawking his PussyFaggot tote-bags, designed by East Village Boys.
The show was funny, quick-witted, and well performed by the playwright, Dan Fishback. I was a little hesitant going in, expecting an over the top identity-politics narrative – addressing gay issues i’ve heard over and over, and Jewish issues that I can’t find an entry point to. Dan dives right into those identity-driven issues, but negotiates the contemporary through a historical lens, offering new insight, while re-telling a beautiful story.
Dan and I e-chatted about the project and his work.
JH: You have quite a few different artistic practices. By choosing a theatrical production for this project, there’s a big focus on language and story telling. What brought you to choose this form of playwriting/acting? Can you speak to the tools and limitations you see here over other forms you work in (music, dance, etc)?
JH: This piece is dealing with contemporary queer issues, woven thru a deep historical and cultural perspective. I see an interesting contrast between the exhaustive history of the Jewish culture, and the spotty history-transfer across queer generations (i.e. intense age-ism, a population not linked thru familial ties, etc). What has been your process in negotiating these two identity-driven histories?
JH: I’m obsessed about queerness and the recession. Any musings you’d like to share?
JH: Your character often calls the White House – the hold message lends the title of the play. Do you do the same in real life?
DF: I’ve called the White House many times, and, at some point in the message-leaving process, the voice does say “You will experience silence while you are waiting.” I have not, however, called since Obama was sworn in. I almost don’t want to know if they’ve changed the message!
JH: What’s next for you?
DF: In June, I’ll be going to the MacDowell Artists Colony to start working on my next theater project, “The Material World.” It’s going to be, vaguely, about Madonna and Britney Spears studying Kabbalah together. It may or may not also involve me and Max Steele as slutty 18th century Eastern European Jewish peasant girls. When I get back to New York, I’m hoping to return to a solo album I’m recording with my good friend Casey Holford, of the band Urban Barnyard. We started recording in freaking 2005, and I think it’s time we finally finish the thing.