Pint Sized Plays IV is only a few weeks off and we’re excited to have two writers who are contributing a play to Pint Sized for the very first time! Though Carl Lucania has been a staple of Theater Pub from early on, this marks his first time as part of the festival, while Peter Hsieh will be making his Theater Pub debut! We took a moment to get to know these guys a little bit better, and find out what drew them to Pint Sized, what challenges they faced, and what they’re excited about both at Theater Pub and beyond!
So how did you hear about Theater Pub’s Pint-Sized Play Festival and what possessed you to send something in?
Carl Lucania: I got in on the ground floor, having worked with all the Theater Pub founders at some point or other as an actor. I love to tell stories and enjoy writing, but I’d never written a play before.
Peter Hsieh: I probably saw stuff about it on Facebook, but it was during one of my meetings at Asian American Theatre Co’s New Works Incubator that Sunil or Kirk brought up Theater Pub and my first time submitting was actually for the evening of sci-fi and horror that Sunil was producing. Also I like beer and short plays.
What’s the hardest thing about writing a short play?
Peter Hsieh: Keeping it concise and to the point, there’s no beating around the bush when it comes to short plays and a lot of times it is hard to know what to keep and what to change and what to get rid of.
Carl Lucania: The most difficult thing for me in any self-motivated project is blocking out the time to get it done. After that it seemed fairly intuitive; who doesn’t have at least one good story that takes place in a bar?
What’s the best thing about writing a short play?
Carl Lucania: That it isn’t a full length play. That would make my head hurt.
Peter Hsieh: It is more focused, for me at least. When I’m writing a short play I usually know where to go and I more easily connect the beginning to the end to give it that extra kick. Also I feel there are a lot more production opportunities for short plays in terms of being an emerging writer, theaters may do maybe one new work a season that is a full length but produce an evening or weekend of five to eight short plays once or twice in their season.
Who do you think is a major influence on your work?
Carl Lucania: I was greatly influenced by Audrey, an 11 year-old whose short play got produced In Pub From Another World back in May. It convinced me to get over myself and contribute something.
Peter Hsieh: Keroauc. I’ve always loved his writing style, his form, his poetry, his sense of rhythm. I think I take a lot from his style and incorporate that in my plays and poems. American Haiku is so good it makes my balls hurt. Seriously. I am also a big fan of Sarah Kane, I’ve read 4.48 Psychosis more times than I’ve read any other play.
If you could pick one celebrity to be cast in your show, who would it be and why?
Peter Hsieh: Michael Fassbender. Hands Down. He is an awesome and incredible actor and I like him in everything he’s been in. Hunger. Shame. X-men First Class. Heck I’d probably change the script so he takes off his pants so I can have some full frontal Fassbender in my play.
Carl Lucania: Since I’ve got an older woman of Italian heritage in the piece, how about Isabella Rossellini? I’d watch her do just about anything.
What is a writing project you are currently working on?
Peter Hsieh: I am currently working on a new full length play, which is about two high school friends who kinda hold these grudges against each other over different things. Things escalate when one beats the other at this video game and ends doing it with the other kid’s mom. There will be flame throwers, chainsaws, fast cars, gaming, college applications, and a splash of futuristic dystopia. I hope to have a first draft by end of July so I’m pretty stoked.
Carl Lucania: I have this notion to try and adapt Isherwood’s Christopher and his Kind into a sort of Cabaret: The Real Story type piece that includes some music of the Weimar era. I thought an adaptation would be easier than writing an original piece. I was wrong. So wrong.
What’s next for you?
Peter Hsieh: I have an art installation / open house gala of my monologue and poems called Collectives: Volume One going up July 12th at Avid Coffee in San Jose. There are these paintings, installations with headphones that play my poems and monologues mixed to cool music and ambience and stuff. There will be an auction there as well for my installations. Also on that same weekend Rama and Sita a play that I collaborated on with my friend Steve Boyle is going up as part of SJREAL’s Late Night Series at San Jose Rep. My play Even Spies sit on Park Benches is being workshopped at West Valley College as part of Alpha Project, a summer festival of new plays and that is going up end of July and playing through early August I believe. We are also planning our next season for SJREAL so I’m looking forward to cool and innovative new season.
Carl Lucania: Good question. Anyone have any interesting parts for a middle-aged man with all of his hair and most of his marbles?
So what upcoming shows or events are you most excited about in the Bay Area Theater Scene?
Peter Hsieh: Wow, there are so many. I’m excited to see Bay One Acts when it goes up. No man’s Land at Berkeley Rep. The Snow Queen at San Jose Rep this winter. Mutt by Christopher Chen at Impact. City Lights Theatre Co, has an amazing entire season that I’m really looking forward to, and I always enjoy their shows. There are a lot of them, but one thing that I am probably most excited about is the SF Olympians Festival this year, I don’t think I’ve ever been in such an awesome and big festival with so many talented individual, and the fact that these are all new works by local Bay Area playwrights make it even more exciting, so I guess that one is probably the one I’m most excited for.
Carl Lucania: I’m pretty amped for SF Olympians. I love Greek mythology, love the creativity that goes into the telling and reinventing of these stories. Plus I’ve had the good fortune to be associated with some great pieces that have come out of the festival.
What’s your favorite beer?
Carl Lucania: Big Daddy IPA. Read into that what you will.
Peter Hsieh: Shock Top Belgian White. Actually I like most Belgian Whites.
You may have heard it’s our last show at Cafe Royale. What do you look forward to for the future of Theater Pub?
Peter Hsieh: Ah, I wish I had seen more shows at the Cafe Royale! I guess I look forward to being more involved and seeing more productions. I’m a big fan of new works and edge works and re-imagined classics and there is nothing more exciting than seeing your friends and peers do that sort of stuff.
Carl Lucania: My hope for Theater Pub is to continue to keep doing what it does best: to be a cross-breeding ground for amazing local talent and a place I can drink with people who always have something interesting to say. And for everyone involved to make a kajillion dollars so they can keep at it. Or at least have some great rehab stories to tell.
Don’t miss Pint Sized Plays IV, playing five times this month: July 15, 16, 22, 29 and 30, always at 8 PM, only at the Cafe Royale! The show is free and no reservations are necessary, but we encourage you to get there early because we will be full!