Brian Markley is a founding member of the San Francisco Theater Pub and one of our current artistic directors. His past projects with us include directing a pair of Lanford Wilson shorts this past September, and producing a night of Muni-related shorts back in March of 2010. This time around he’s penning the script for CUSTOMS, which will be the first totally original full length play to get a reading at the San Francisco Theater Pub.
So how would you best sum up your involvement with Theater Pub?
Four of us pitched it to the Cafe Royale after deciding it would be a great way to mix our shared love of inclusive, immersive theater, and drinking in public. I’ve been to all but two, and I’m normally the guy moving chairs around or plugging in sound equipment upstairs.
What do you like best about Theater Pub?
The after party. Er… the synergistic theater community rap sessions that come from having a comfortable place to congregate immediately after a show. I’ve also loved seeing so many new writers (including me) get their feet wet and gain confidence to do bigger works and submit elsewhere after getting their start here.
What first inspired you to write this play?
A number of things, the most immediate being hearing Karen Offereins perform the Landmark Theaters’ “The Language of Film is Universal” intro in ten languages. The larger was a friend visiting from my home state of Michigan. I thought he’d be a helpless hanger on in my new “big” city, and then watched his authentic sense of place and confidence, and his knowledge of modern music and movies, win over my friends here. It first made me realize that places are just places, with borders and accents not meaning as much as shared references, sports, interests and other “customs.”
What has the process been like, of bringing this to life for the first time?
Catharsis. I’ve had some pieces of this idea bumping around for two years, so getting this out and seeing how close (or far) my apprentice-level abilities could actually get me to my “someday” fantasy was a nice reality check for me generally.
What has you most excited?
The prospect of feedback from all the people in the local theater community that I respect- actors, directors, pub regulars. Hopefully, people will find it funny. Double hopefully, it will “mean something” to someone.
What are you the most nervous about?
This is sort of a holiday special. How much of a role does Thanksgiving really play in the show?
Apart from being a plot device, there’s a lot about thankfulness keeping you humble and maybe a little more connected to your roots. Thanksgiving is about non-exclusivity, so it’s the best holiday to help tell this story.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory?
Getting to leave the kids’ table for the first time when I was 25 after a cousin started to spend the day with a new family.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Pre-vegetarian: dark-meat turkey. Post-vegetarian: mashed potatoes infused with turkey smell.
Make sure you catch Brian Markley’s CUSTOMS, playing on November 21 and November 28 at the San Francisco Theater Pub (Cafe Royale, 800 Post Street), starting at 8 PM. No reservations necessary, but we suggest you get there early to get a good seat. Admission is FREE, but thank our hosts and order a beer or three!