Review Fix chats with Randy Cordero, who discusses his new production, “The Donald Trump Chronicles…Among Other Things.”
About the Production:
The Donald Trump Chronicles, Among other Things presented by Randy Cordero
June 15 @ 9:00 PM; June 17 @ 3:15 PM; June 24 @ 7:30 PM; June 28 @ 9:30 PM; July 1 @ 12:00 PM; July 2 @ 9:30 PM, LATEA Theater
This series of comedy sketches serves as a chronology which follows the self-induced disastrous relationship with the public and the ridiculousness that has plagued the current POTUS. Truth, love, absurdist intellectual humor, and most importantly, mental and emotional investment in things that exist outside of ourselves.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Randy Cordero: My creative process is a little unconventional. With acting it’s pretty much as simple as whatever technique would best work for that character with a foundation in being honest and connected to the other person. As far as writing goes it’s pretty boring. I used to embody the glorious cliche of sitting down at a table in a bar, and going through as many glasses of whiskey and coffee it took to get something across that I liked. Nowadays it’s the polar opposite. I sit down at my table and my living room, have a cup of coffee, eat some vegan meatballs, some brown rice, and go in and out of staring at my computer screen, thinking, and watching CNN, YouTube clips from political think tanks, or whatever else my instincts and general intellectual curiosity guide me towards.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Cordero: This project is actually the first time I dabbled into stage sketch comedy. I shot a short sketch with a camera mic one time but I don’t even know if that counts. It’s definitely easier than writing the other blatantly autobiographical or very nuanced dark comedy stuff, the political/relationship-ish shorts with a similar tone, all of that. It’s pretty refreshing, less pressure in terms of the whole and/or what works in that regard aspect of the writing that I don’t think you can really teach, but that does definitely get stronger with practice. It’s also the first time I’ve ever submitted a play anywhere let alone got accepted, which is pretty cool. Gratifying. Seeing positive responses and laughs from people on board and readers and during rehearsals and all that is definitely rewarding. It creates this sense of “I trusted my sense of what makes my work unique and it works for other people” and I think that’s a pretty scary and tough hump to get over for any writer. The clarity in that regard, especially in comedy. Knowing that other people get your sense of humor is pretty gratifying.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Cordero: I learned that I’m a lot funnier than I thought I was if I’m honest. I’ve learned about the power of solace through comedy. What happens in the world can be so horrifying and non-nonsensical to smart people that sometimes the only way to get through it all without hating everything is to try to laugh about it. I learned that embracing a little bit of narcissism is definitely useful as long as you’re aware of it and you don’t aimlessly parade around your assholishness…and that it is especially useful we come across having to play some characters like the Mad king/ covfefe snorting psycho Orangutan.
Review Fix: How does it feel to be a part of something like this?
Cordero: This is probably one of the most chaotic, stressful, yet exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had, but well-written comedy’s always a blast. Thankfully we’ve had plenty of rehearsal time and despite my director being in a pretty chaotic general life situation right now, she’s such a trooper and just loves the work so much. It’s the kind of dynamic where as a director, Bryna Kearny, she would see things and fill moments in the work with these things that as a writer I not only didn’t even think of, and would not only fit into but enhance the intended tone of the thing. It’s kind of a crazy experience when you can come to rehearsal as a writer and be surprised every time…but also agree, and the agreeing part is really the significant part. That’s usually where productions with writers involved hit little walls in my opinion, so I feel pretty lucky. I think we cast well so that definitely lightens the workload. Also, there have been a lot of things that have happened which have pretty much been out of our control that early on that could have caused a huge spiral, ironically tied to the NEA funding cuts. It feels great that we still came together, used our resources wisely, rehearsed in even some of the most unconventional places when we had to early on and just put our hearts and souls into this thing, and had fun and had a riot while doing it. I feel very grateful to be around such tough, inspiring, and talented people. I think tough is the big one. It’s all been pretty inspiring, my team and their resolve and commitment in particular, so the stress has definitely been worth it.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Cordero: I’d like to maybe film a couple of these(sketches). I’d like to dabble in other theaters and festivals. The PITT, Fringe, maybe some places in L.A. Send it to multiple places at once, make some more money off of it if I’m honest. Honestly, I haven’t given it much thought. I’m just trying to give this one my best shot.
Review Fix: What do you think your audiences will enjoy the most?
Cordero: I think my audience will enjoy well one how relatable and close to reality the content in these jokes are, despite how ridiculous they end up getting.
The thing about the Mad King is that you can make these outlandish jokes, and create these ridiculous farcical situations around them and still have them be completely inspired by something that has directly come out of his mouth, or a policy, or someone who said something that’s been silenced somehow. Whatever. Orange f*ck face is a comedic gold mine. The stuff writes itself, really. All you need is some imagination and concentration. I think we matched the essence of the actors well with casting, again. That’s “yuge.” We lucked out there as well because sketch comedy is really so much about what they do and we’ve very hard. I feel pretty damn good about the work they’re doing. I’m satisfied. I also think I can safely say this is something that you can enjoy if you’re on either side of the isle, provided that you’re not a hard ass. There’s a good amount to learn from it too. I pull no punches, honestly. I think any person that’s truly informed and not strictly caught up in the one and two-dimensional world of identity politics would do some introspection and know that this election was as much our fault as it was the fault of the “white power” dudes, evangelicals, and honest to God xenophobes. Way too many Democrats didn’t vote and I do think our party is in kind of a crisis mode, all stuff that I kind of touch upon, but I think this is all predominantly about calling out the Covfefe Junkie on running one of the most, if not the most vicious and slanderous and hateful campaigns we’ll ever see.. while having a lot of fun, and I think that’s something most of us can enjoy, as long as you don’t have a stick up your ass…Of which there are plenty of people, but which I’m not really worried about them. As funny people, it’s our job to stick our necks out and take those risks.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Cordero: An extensive focus on primarily film and television for some good time, getting in really good shape without taking steroids, and maybe some online comedy sketches. Producing this thing from more of a distance. L.A. in a year maybe, but definitely a two-week vacation.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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