After the Fall Before the Storm
As Hurricane Sandy touches down in Staten Island, two fireman connect while dismantling a children’s bed built by one of their fallen brothers. Coffee, masculinity, and bagels help veil their loss and trauma.
Originally from New York, John spent much of his career appearing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regionally, and at The Royal Shakespeare Company. He is the author of several plays including Inhalation (Max Lerner Award, O’Neill Finalist), Gertrude (Max Lerner Award), Sinner’s Laundry (Ovation recommended), You Didn’t Die (LA Together Festival), and his work has appeared in the ABC Discovers Talent Showcase. His new play Gertrude will be scene virtually this Spring at The Inkwell Theatre. John received a Drama Desk Award for his performance in The Royale at The Lincoln Center Theatre and he is a member of IAMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles. He has appeared on TV and Film in numerous roles, most notably portraying Roy Reed in Ava DuVernay’s Academy Award nominated film Selma. As a voice artist, John has worked for Disney, Netflix, Dreamworks and is voice of the beloved children’s book series Nate the Great which gives him major street credit with his children. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He performs regularly with his Improv team Some Kinda Monster at The Upright Citizens Brigade.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
As an actor, I always created complex backstories in order to enter a character. They were my first narratives and my only outlet for dramatic writing. Beyond that, I started writing plays about 15 years ago, but never shared a single one. I would delete them or throw them away because it was too raw to have someone look at the work. That changed about 6 years ago. While my wife was pregnant with my daughter, I wanted to write something dedicated to her before I met her. Since then I continued to write and have my work presented. I’ve been an actor for so long that trying to undertake playwright seemed daunting because I didn’t have training and I never considered myself academic or intelligent enough to construct an entire piece. But, I gained confidence and a craft. I feel like can share, though it still feels just as raw.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I was thinking about my childhood house that was torn down. I wanted to build it again. I was thinking about the scars of New York City, and how they remain. I just imagined two men sharing grief as best as they can, and failing at finding healing.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Inventive. Collaborative. Visceral. Hopeful. Raw.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Lynne Nottage, Edward Bond, Maria Irene Fornes, Edward Albee, Brecht, John Patrick Shanley, Caryl Churchill, Shakespeare, Martin Mcdounagh, Taylor Mac, Sam Hunter.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
That I slept in my car and in libraries for 6 months in my late teens and early twenties.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Sweat, Cloud 9, Zoo Story, Lear, The Pillow Man, The Royale, Her, The Whale, Blackwatch, As you Like it, Streetcar, Skeleton Crew.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
A new play about my experience with Qanon followers!