Thursday, July 25, 2013

John Dylan Atkins talks about indie theater, Edward Albee's "The Play About the Baby" and taking a break from the stage to make movies

Posted By on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Emily Childers and John Dylan Atkins
  • Emily Childers and John Dylan Atkins
John Dylan Atkins, one of Memphis' hardest working performers, opens Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby this weekend. That seemed like as good a reason as any to ask him three questions.

Intermission Impossible: Albee infuses even his more realistic plays— A Delicate Balance, for example—with heavy doses of absurdism. And he plays with the style more directly in pieces like Zoo Story, and The American Dream. With this piece you're doing, The Play About the Baby, Albee has woven an especially "wangled teb," and I hoped you might be able to tell us a little about the play, and how it plays with us.

John Dylan Atkins: In the spirit of not giving too much away I'll say this. The Play About the Baby is simply about the loss of innocence. There is no real setting so the characters just pop in and out as needed. At times he writes very vaudevillian, and in a split second it jumps back into reality. Actually, I guess the absurd thing to me is the way he shows how relative reality really is. The namesake of the play is even in question.

Intermission Impossible:You've done a lot of great work with smaller companies. The indie scene here seems healthier than ever, don't you think?

John Dylan Atkins: I do think the indie scene is thriving at the moment. I think it's a mixture of a growing talent base in the city and the willingness to do theatre for theatre's sake. Not for money. Not to be seen (because there is no guarantee you will be). But doing it to be in the room; doing it because you long to walk in those character's shoes; because you need to bring those words to life

Intermission Impossible: Rumor has it you're taking a break from the stage to concentrate on filmmaking. What sorts of projects are you working on? And is this a clean break or are there parts out there that might test your will power?

John Dylan Atkins: This is not only a rumor, but a truth! I'm going to be taking what I'm calling, "My Michael Jordan/Jay Z Retirement" from the theatre. This just means I'm taking some time off to focus on projects I've been waiting to get off of the ground. I will start in early August by starting in young Memphis filmmaker Nathan Ross Murphy's original screenplay Space Licorice. Then my film partner and I will look through the loads of films we have written together and decide which one seems right to be made now. Finally, we are shipping our first short film I just completed Dichotomy to film festivals and if/when we get in I will travel with it. Therefore, I will hopefully be very busy.

I don't know when I'll be back on the stage again, but I will when the time feels right. Now it's time for me to start following my dream.

Edward Albee's THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY
July 25-28, 2013
The Evergreen Theatre
For ticket info click here.

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