Friday, February 27, 2015
6 Questions: Andi Stover of NOODLES ASTRAY
Live Feed's NOODLES ASTRAY opens at The Club @ La MaMa on March 6th. Writer and co-director, Andi Stover, took time out of rehearsals to answer 6 Questions for the La MaMa Blog:
1. What was the inspiration for writing Noodles Astray?
Aimee Davis, dramaturg extraordinaire, and my long-time collaborator and partner-in-crime, became obsessed with the title “Noodles Astray” sometime in 2007. She wanted to name everything “Noodles Astray” including dramaturgical newsletters, our then imagined theater company, bands, unborn children, what have you. She had seen a poster for a 19th Century American board game with this name at the NY Historical Society and was off to the races. I don't know how many times I heard her say those two words together. As a joke, I told her that I would write her a play for her title. It would be about a group of performance artists who are hired to make a high concept puppet show for children. Once said out loud, we both laughed and that was that. Noodles Astray was born.
2. How is Noodles Astray different from previous LiveFeed works?
This is our first production in a real life theatre!!! Our past works have all been site specific. Black Eye Fixer was at Glasslands (now closed). We did our special brand of historical "reimagineactments " in a tunnel beneath Atlantic Avenue. Audiences had to climb down a manhole. Our most recent production, a mash-up of Shakepeare's Julius Caesar and Bravo's Real Housewives franchise , called The Real Housewives of Trevi, happened at swank-fest Ace Hotel. This is our first time with controlled design elements , like lights! I get to work with Chris Weston, a fantastic lighting designer I've admired for years. It feel so luxurious to be a part of the La MaMa love orb, I might never want to go back. It will also be a change for our audience. They will actually know when the play has started. Our usual style mixes performers with audience members, so sometimes its hard to tell when the "show" has started. But this time they are gonna know! Whammo. Blackout. I can't wait.
3. The show includes puppets by, Daniel Fay - did you originally conceive the play to include puppets?
Yes, the puppets are the stars, really. They make it all happen. From the moment I came up with the idea for the play, the puppets were there. It's my first time writing for them, but I already have an idea for another play with a puppet. What Daniel does, creating them, and how the actors/puppeteers animate them, is so magical for me. The only way I can describe it, is it's as if you are watching someone with supernatural powers breathe life into the dead. Everytime little Bucky Fuller (one of the puppets) comes to life and raises his head, I am filled with wonder. They take you to other worlds! In rehearsal we all talk about them as if they are people, because they are.
4. Noodles Astray deals with gentrification, how have you seen NYC change since you've been here?
When I moved here in '97, I had no money. Within a couple weeks I had a job, an apartment, and was volunteering at Blackout Books and ABC NoRio. I had found my little niche. People were so open, art seemed so accessible. You just did it. You ran into someone on the street and then you were going to see a night of hand developed experimental films at Collective Unconscious. I saw so many plays in these tiny theatres that seemed to be everywhere. I did a show at Surf Reality for $150! I met Ed Vega, who started the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center one day, and then I was working in his office and in exchange he gave me a rehearsal studio. And one by one, those places started to close. Todo Con Nada became a bar, so did House of Candles. Surf Reality I think became a yoga studio. At first I didn't really see them as connected. But soon I couldn't afford the rent, and there weren't any places left to make my weird little plays. Everything got shinier, fancier. I moved to Brooklyn and at first people were scared to come visit me! The store downstairs had plexi glass and if you wanted to buy something you put your money in a lazy susan and turned it around. Now that place serves gourmet coffee and cupcakes. I guess its hard to describe the changes except in these types of details. There is a sterility that has swept everything clean. All this construction and "improvement" has destroyed the nuance of diversity and dilapidation. On the wall of the Mars Bar, a rotten stink hole, someone had painted "Characters R Us." Truer words have never been said about that place. It was chock full of fucked up, but vivid, hilarious, soulful characters. And now it's a TD bank. I know I am rambling like an old lady, but to me New York used to feel like anything was possible at any moment. And now it just feels like more of the same. Glass boxes. Hedge funds. Burberry coats.
5. What was the last good film you saw?
The last GOOD film I saw was Duck Soup. My son, who is five, and I don't share a lot of movies, but that one we can watch together and laugh our asses off. I could watch that one everyday, but they took it off Netflix Instant! I saw Birdman, that is the last movie I saw in the theatre, but to be honest I didn't really like it that much. Why was everyone yelling all the time?
6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
La MaMa represents hope for me. Truly. When you are a small company, that has to create work on a shoestring, because you have to keep creating otherwise you shrivel up and die on the inside, when you have been working like that for so long, and then a place as meaningful and inspiring a place as La MaMa lets you in, it feels like being embraced. It may be the very last place in New York where unknown artists without trust funds can get the chance to make their experiments and be supported. Throughout the rehearsal process, I have been continually charmed by the elegance and grace of the staff. The kindness is palpable. It may sound presumptuous, but working at La MaMa has felt like finally coming home.
La MaMa presents
by Andi Stover
directed by Andi Stover and Daniel Fay
March 6 - 15, 2015
Friday and Saturday at 10pm; Sunday at 6pm
The Club @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003
Tickets: $20Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; ten tickets priced at $10 each are available, in advance only, via phone, web or box office - not available day-of-show.
For tickets and info: CLICK HERE