Actor John Lowell On “Shooter”

John Lowell, who is one of three actors in “Shooter”, talks about the play, his process and creating a role in the next Theater Pub show.

Give us a brief impression of who you are, in a hundred words or less.

I was born and raised in Portland, OR and I’ve lived in San Francisco on and off for a combined twenty years. I’ve also lived and worked in parts of Europe, Asia and E. Africa. I acted in and developed plays as a kid but moved away from it until years later when I took a theater class to balance out the dry world of business school. It was like the flood scene in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”; it swept me away, limbs flailing with joy. Thank God.

John Lowell, lost in the flood.

John Lowell, lost in the flood.

Is this your first time working at BOA? What’s that like? If it it’s not your first time, what brought you back to such a unique festival setting?

It is my first time with BOA. The perception that drew me to it is proving to be the reality – a diverse and exciting set of plays and artists coming together. I’m loving it so far.

You’re the first people to appear in a production of “Shooter”- what’s the best thing about “creating” a role this role as an actor?

I always try to either avoid watching previous versions of a role or if I’ve already seen some to file those images away and approach it as freshly as possible. So for me it’s great to be able to come to it initially with only the images that have developed from reading the script and build from there.

Are there any challenges?

Not so much from being the first to do it (per above), but specific to this role I’m finding entering this character’s world to be emotionally difficult. But I cherish opportunities to take artfully written material and immerse myself in the character, whoever they may be.

What’s been a particularly interesting element of this rehearsal process?

This piece is constructed in a way that is sort of like a dance where the dancers are unaware of each other yet connected. Excited by where this can go.

“Shooter” is an ensemble piece. How does being in an ensemble piece differ from, say, playing a lead in a show, or having a “minor” role?

It’s interesting to remove those usual elements, made more so by the fact that our stories unfold intertwined but without conscious acknowledgement of each other. But we naturally at some level acknowledge and are affected by each other. And our dialogue is connected.

Do you get a chance to see the other shows in the Festival this year? Anything got you excited besides your own? 

Will try to see all I can. The read-throughs made me want to see all of them.

What about in the upcoming theater season in general? 

So much I’d like to see but I need to get out there more.

What’s next for you?

I’m excited to be in another play at BOA, “Break of Day” by Jeff Carter, directed by Brian Trybom, acting with Shane Fahey.  I will be doing a reading of Blood of My Subjects by Richard White with PCSF on 10/14, and also doing the 24-Hour Play Fest with PCSF on 9/28. I’m assistant directing on the next production at Tides Theatre, Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Jennifer Welch and featuring Cary Cronholm Rose and Wylie Herman, running 10/10-11/09.

“Shooter” will play, along with an assortment of other excellent one-acts in this year’s festival, September 15, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29 and October 3 and 5 at the Tides Theater in San Francisco. To find out more about this show, and all the great shows that will be a part of this cornerstone event for the San Francisco Bay Area Theater scene, check out

Director Rik Lopes Talks “Shooter” And SF Theater Pub at BOA 2013.

Rik Lopes, a frequent collaborator with the San Francisco Theater Pub, talks about directing this year’s contribution to the Bay One Acts Festival. A dramatic and challenging piece, “Shooter” looks to be a real unique part of this year’s festival, and just in case you didn’t think it would be a serious piece of art, Rik sent us this amazingly serious headshot.

Rik Lopes: Director, Actor, Writer... CK1 model?

Rik Lopes: Director, Actor, Writer… CK1 model?

Okay, so, tell the world who you are in 100 words or less.

I have been making theatre in some form or other since I was 10 years old. I have been actively involved in the San Francisco theatre community since 2007, having come back to my senses after a goodly long hiatus. I am an actor, director, and playwright, but not necessarily in that order.

This isn’t your first time working with Theater Pub, is it? What have you done with us in the past.

I have appeared in several readings, including Hamlet and Cheese on Post, The Memorandum, and The Shunned House. I was also very fortunate to direct both the pint-sized scene and full production of Brian Markley’s The Nebraskan And Sam.

This is your first time at BOA, correct? What’s that like?

Indeed it is. I have often been regaled by friends with stories of how much fun BOA is and am excited to finally be a part of it. I must say, I am very impressed by the sheer vastness of it all. I went into the project expecting to direct a really cool show and quickly learned that I would also be making friends with theatre companies from all across the city.

We know why producer Brian Markley picked this play, “Shooter” as the TP contribution to BOA, but what drew you to the piece?

I am always drawn to the dark horse pieces. BOA is generally assumed to be a collection of comedic pieces and I was very glad to discover “Shooter”. I was immediately drawn to the serious and dark nature of it. I am also a big fan of tight spaces filled with people who never actually interact with each other physically. It’s a fantastic challenge for a director.

It’s your first time working with Daniel Hirsch, the writer. How involved is he in the process?

I first met Dan at the general auditions and was impressed with him right away. He is very open to my ideas and continued to rework the script until the very end. He’s a super talented guy and I’m very pleased to be partnering with him to bring this show to life.

What’s turning out to be the biggest challenge in directing a piece like this, and in a festival setting?

I have to say that I tend to veer toward the minimal as a director. The less “stuff”, the better. Let the text speak for itself, that is. Part of me wonders if such a pared down show will fit harmoniously with the other pieces, especially if we have an audience expecting a bit more of a belly laugh.

What’s the greatest asset?

If we pull this off, the simple, dressed down concept may very well be our best asset as well. It can really be a standout.

How is this show still a Theater Pub show, despite not being performed in a bar?

One of the greatest things about Theater Pub is the immersive element and the chance to take advantage of unconventional staging and blocking. There’s a remarkably wide angle on the lens, so to speak, and you can really play with that. With “Shooter”, it’s as if we have jumped into the mirror world of Theater Pub. We have three very strong personalities who each inhabit a stiflingly small space but experience it in their own time. The audience sees three different stories unfolding at once.

What else at the festival are you most excited to see?

I’m really looking forward to “Break Of Day”. It’s a solid script with a great cast. I know Bryan Trybom as an actor and have always loved him on stage. I’m excited to see him direct.

“Shooter” will play, along with an assortment of other excellent one-acts in this year’s festival, September 15, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29 and October 3 and 5 at the Tides Theater in San Francisco. To find out more about this show, and all the great shows that will be a part of this cornerstone event for the San Francisco Bay Area Theater scene, check out