Review Fix chats with playwright Duncan Pflaster, who discusses his new production, “A Touch of Cinema.”
About the Production:
Playwright Duncan Pflaster and director Aliza Shane blur the lines of life and art in this play about a dinner party turned dark when the guests must hear a screenplay about the abduction and torture of a young filmmaker who made “seditious” movies. In a small country newly taken over by a dictator, filmmaker Dina Kummerspeck has been taken by the government and tortured for making supposedly seditious films. Now returned home under house arrest with an electric shackle on her ankle, she and her husband Tomas invite over their actor friends for a party, but unbeknownst to them, it’s going to be a secret reading of Dina’s new screenplay loosely based on her torture. Fact and fiction collide as the actors go back and forth between acting out her words and commenting on the art of it.
April 23 @ 8:00 pm; April 24 @ 8:30 pm; April 26 @ 5:00 pm; April 27 @ 8;30 pm
Part of the SPOTLIGHT-ON FESTIVAL at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, NYC.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Duncan Pflaster: I write whenever an idea strikes me, usually after work or on weekends. I have a Moleskine notebook that I carry around to jot down phrases and ideas to remember till I can get them down somewhere useful. I used to be much more disciplined, playing special music and lighting candles, making my writing desk a “sacred space” but I started to think that was a silly crutch, so I cut that out. Lately I’ve been experimenting with the ommwriter app, which is a simple text processor that blocks out distractions on your screen (I’m a bit of a Facebook addict) and plays soothing music and/or white noise, it’s been fun.
Review Fix: What makes this [play] different or special?
Pflaster: This one is 90 minutes in real time, which was a real challenge. It also is set in an unnamed country that isn’t America, so it was necessary to have subtle exposition throughout to make that seem real for the audience. This is a rather political play – I began writing it 2 years ago, inspired by the story of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, but with current American politics, it has become eerily prescient.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Pflaster: An ongoing process for me is learning how to relax and be less controlling when I’m not directing my own work. I have a great director and cast for this piece, so I’m getting better at not micromanaging.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this?
Pflaster: It feels really good to be making theatre that’s a bit more politically relevant – a lot of my work has things to say about social issues, but A Touch of Cinema tackles ideas of government censorship of artists and political torture in a way I hope is entertaining.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Pflaster: I would love for people to come see the show and the great actors and hopefully for other theatres to produce it down the line.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Pflaster: There’s a lot to enjoy, the banter between the characters the most.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Pflaster: My first full-length screenplay “Strapped for Danger” is scheduled to shoot with Scorpio Film Releasing in Rhode Island this July. Very excited for that.