005: Alex Vlahov: Too Much Light, the New York Neo-Futurists, and Experimental Theater

This episode, Alex Vlahov talks about his work with the New York Neo-futurists and their collection of 30 plays performed in an hour called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. We also talk about experimental theater in general and some of the plays that Alex has written and directed that have interesting approaches to topics that cover a range of social issues and humanity’s dilemmas. Finally, we discuss Alex’s latest play which is still untitled. The play is about Father Eric, a priest from our high school who was murdered in 2013.

 

If you liked this interview, I think you'll enjoy my interview with writer, actor, and director, Marica Petry.

I talk to Marica Petrey who is a writer, actor, and director as well as Founder and one of the Artistic Directors of Radix Troupe which is an experimental theater troupe based out of Berkeley, California. She is also a freelance journalist and videographer with California Magazine. She is cellist and member of Mad Noise, a bluesy funk, soul, punk band that has traveled to Africa through the State Department’s American Music Abroad Program. 

You may also like my interview with cinematographer, Chad Leto.

I talk to my friend Chad Leto, a cinematographer working for G-Ram films and has worked on documentaries, music videos, and commercials. He’s also been the cinematographer with so many projects including an award winning feature film called Parallax. Chad also filmed a hilarious and totally wacky web series called “Don’t call it Frisco” about a Boston transplant who moves to San Francisco and has to adjust to the liberal and totally crazy culture of the city. 

SHOW NOTES

  • Recording of host of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind explaining how the show works. [00:03:36]
  • Recording of one of Alex’s mini plays called ‘Every Springsteen Song Ever.’ [00:04:56]
  • Alex explains the history of the Neo Futurists and it’s origins in the Italian art movement, futurism. [00:06:50]
  • Alex explains one of the tenants of Futurism, simultaneity. [00:08:35]
  • Recording of Alex’s piece, ‘Doctors, Etc.’ [00:11:00]
  • Recording of Alex’s piece, ‘How I Bore Bartenders’ [00:12:05]
  • Alex has a fever. Did we mention that? [00:12:25]
  • How AR/VR mirrors the interactive, audience inclusive performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. [00:13:20]
  • Final recording of another Neo Futurist called ‘My Worst Experiment Ever.’ It’s a mini play about the speakers failed attempts to quit smoking. [00:14:35]
  • Are Neo Futurists encouraged to explore their issues in the plays they write?[00:16:56]
  • Alex talks about his experience at LAMBDA, a premiere acting academy in London. [00:19:00]
  • What is Alex’s method for preparing for a role? [00:21:08]
  • Alex talks about his ensemble company, Cliff House Arts.  [00:23:55]
  • Alex and I talk about one of his cover concerts in Tomales bay where our friend’s car sunk in water and needed a new engine. [00:24:25]
  • Alex talks about one of his project, Furniture Port that showed real world, real time, interactions with the internet.  [00:27:40]
  • Alex talks about his upcoming play called, A Simple Art about a priest from our high school who was violently murdered in 2014. [00:32:40]
  • Alex talks about the details of the murder. [00:35:27]
    There’s a level of atonement with the piece. Alex reflects on a moment he had with Father Eric in the quad. [00:37:00]
  • Alex has another memory of Father Eric. A story about where our food comes from. [00:37:36]
  • How Alex’s love of Noir and an aptly themed Tank Noir event led him to Father Eric’s murder as his next subject matter. [00:41:13]
    The Simple Art of Murder, an essay about true crime verse fiction murder that inspired Alex to write the play. [00:41:58]

MY FAVORITE MOMENTS

“The monologues, the balloons happening and sitting in a dark room and just the anxiety that it creates. You know, you don’t have to say, ‘we go to New Orleans!’ Or you don’t have to say, ‘there was a king in 1530.’ It just is immediate and in the room and interesting. And that was a new art form for me to see. It was really really refreshing when I first moved here.” [00:10:35]

“It’s got to be, personal, that the only way because, its its, its gotta be, its got to come from a place of reality. That’s what makes the best plays.” [00:17:16]

“I don’t remember who said this. Some teacher once said that like, the best special effect on film is watching the human face, emotionally react to something… His point was human emotion is so fascinating, and to watch him go through some changes of emotion and thought, you follow them as audience members. So yea, we really do try to strive for honesty.” [00:18:06]

“Acting is, for me, acting emotionally honest in fictional circumstances.” [00:22:55]

“If I am just in the room responding to someone, an actual conversation is so interesting. People talking about the hidden impulses you see or think you see. um. yea, that’s far more fascinating and I think that comes from being in the room and being honest to the text and the givens. And if they are not there, then really being open to experimentation.” [00:23:25]

Comment below with some of your favorite moments from the interview!

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

Thunder, lightning, noir, and experimental theater. I love how performance keeps evolving and Alex has some awesome conceptual pieces in the works. Let us know what you thought of the interview below.

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