Josh Kornbluth talking about his latest solo show Citizen Josh
interviewed by Joel Markowitz
Monologist Josh Kornbluth (Haiku Tunnel, Love and Taxes) has returned to Arena Stage with his newest solo show, Citizen Josh,in which he ponders the meaning of democracy and how he (and we) can become better citizens. Democracy begins with conversation, Kornbluth decides, and who better to have a conversation with than DCTS’ Joel Markowitz?
Kornbluth is by nature a disarming, inquisitive man with a gentle sense of humor who speaks with the cadence of his New York Jewish roots. His parents, active members of the Communist Party, “told me I’d lead the Communist Revolution, and as you can tell, it hasn’t happened … My father was so full of life and he had the vision of a world where people loved each other and it was like our own hippie universe…When I tell these stories, I find that I am connecting to that loving place in people… I pick things that are super meaningful to me – In this case – democracy.”
Being fans of Kornbluth’s serial monologues means we get to check in regularly with this fellow human on our common journey through life. The question, ‘why democracy’, ‘why now during these pre-election weeks’, almost answers itself, but Kornbluth gives it a go. “The show started from the frustration from the last election when my guy didn’t win. It was the idea of.. is this all I am doing to help my country … voting every four years?. Was I doing enough to make our democracy flourish? How do I become a better citizen? …The issues that drove it home to me are global warming, and the enormous debt and the instability that my generation now is leaving for future generations.”
If you have been going to Arena Stage lately, you’ve seen Kornbluth’s director and collaborator, David Dower, wearing his signature grey zip-up sweater, greeting audiences and spreading his glee and goodwill. What you may not have known is that Dower is a well-loved member of the Berkeley, CA theatre community and Kornbluth gives great insight into his friend and valued collaborator.
After the shows, Kornbluth and Dower hold up a mirror to the audience, sharing results of pre-show surveys and leading talk back sessions about democracy. In this discussion he tells us what he’s learned so far about Washington audiences.
Our review of Citizen Josh
Arena Stage’s Sub-Text