AN ENERGY TALE BY ANTHONY J. PICCIONE
DIRECTED BY HOLLY PAYNE-STRANGE.
A TIME-TRAVELING ADVENTURE FOR CHILDREN ABOUT SAVING OUR ENVIRONMENT.
AT THE WORKSHOP THEATER, 312 W.36TH STREET, NYC
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: FRI 8/04, 12:00PM; SAT 8/05, 11:00AM; SUN 8/06, 11:00AM
Playwright Anthony J. Piccione send us to the year 2184. The world is far different than it is now. While juggling rocks, a young child encounters the mysterious Dr. Science who transports them back to the past … our present. There, the two learn what we did to create such a bleak future … from fuel sources to politics.
Rod Serling (remember him, Jay Michaels) once said that everything is acceptable if it’s told in a fantastic way. Thank yuo, Anthony J. Piccione for waking us up! AND for some deep thoughts right here at OuterStage.
Let’s start at the top, what inspires you as an artist?
It’s hard to choose one thing. When I look back on what’s inspired my previous plays, there are loads of answers I could provide for each one. In the past, I’ve written plays that deal with the question of what’s the right way to eat pizza to the question of whether or not there is a God, and nearly everything in between. So as you can guess based off of my past productions, there’s a wide range from both pure comedy to plays that talk about more controversial issues, and so naturally, the inspiration I get for each one comes from a different place, whether it’s from another show, a film, a news story, or even something I’ve witnessed in my own life.
Generally speaking, I think that art of any kind – whether we’re talking about theatre, film, music, poetry, etc. – should be judged on it’s quality based on whether or not it is able to make people laugh, cry or think. It doesn’t necessarily have to do all of those three things, but it has to do at least one. Otherwise, it’s mediocre at best. That’s the standard that I hold other plays too, and it’s also the standard that I hold my own plays to, as well. So if I see something that someone else has created that really lives up to that standard, then naturally, that’s going to be something that serves as artistic inspiration for me.
And what brings you to independent theater?
If you take a look at most mainstream Broadway theater, the shows that are being put up – not all of them, but a lot of them – are often too lackluster in terms of how there’s not much of a substantive message that’s been put into it, and in terms of just how cliche so many of the stories are…and that’s when it’s not an actual revival of the same show that’s already been produced over and over again. It’s just mindless entertainment, a lot of the time. That’s not to say there’s not a place in the world for that sort of thing, but it feels like what the world needs more of – and frankly, what I think audiences now want to see more of – is more art and entertainment that challenges the status quo, and isn’t afraid to provoke serious, if not uncomfortable, conversations. I believe that that’s more important than ever now, especially given these particularly bizarre times that we live in.
I feel like a lot of the most original and avant-garde work being done today comes from the people who are writing and producing indie theater, and so really, it’s perhaps the most important kind of theater being done today, because unlike some of those Broadway musicals that keep being produced, the shows you’ll find in smaller venues are actually more likely to have something substantive to say. It’s my hope that, for that reason, even more people will start turning to indie theater to see those kinds of shows, and I think that that’s something we’re going to see happen more and more frequently and consistently, over time…