A brief interview with NY-based Actor/Playwright Daniel Damiano regarding his acclaimed solo play, American Tranquility, coming to the 2019 Capital Fringe Festival.
What was the impetus for American Tranquility?
The theme of division was the sort of driving force. I was already seeing how divided the country was, specifically as it relates to ageism, immigration and societal disconnection, but the hostile fumes from the 2016 election certainly added fuel to the tank and aided in the piece coming together rather quickly.
Is this show for people who love politics?
It’s actually more for people who are just concerned humans living in the world who are open to laugh as well as be moved by things that otherwise, in life, may just make them nauseous. It’s more about basic humanity than anything else and how these specific characters have their own perspective on issues that have significantly affected their lives.
How many characters do you play in American Tranquility?
Four. Stanley, a retired Alabaman. Achmed, a middle-Eastern Subway Poet-Percussionist. Morgan Ridge, a somewhat provocative radio talk-show host. And Ronnie, a Brooklyn existentialist.
This show has already had several lives in New York City, yes?
Yes. I’m based in NYC so much of the work I’ve done has been there. The show officially premiered at the PIT Loft, then it appeared in the 2018 Downtown Urban Arts Festival and, last fall, we did what became an extended 6 week run at the East Village Playhouse.
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Do you think audiences in DC may react differently to certain themes than they did in NYC?
I don’t, but we’ll see. The play doesn’t really have an overt slant or bias, but some things may rattle some cages, which is always fun. Overall, I think the play speaks to a lot of universal concerns, which I think people in DC will find just as relevant to them as anywhere else.
What do you feel is the ultimate response from an audience for this particular piece?
Standing on their chairs and withholding their tomatoes! (Hah!) No, actually, it would just be that they leave the theatre and are still thinking about what they saw, and if they’re with people at the show, they go have a bite afterwards and it gives them material for discussion because it’s still with them. The highest praise for any artist (especially a writer and performer) is for people to leave remembering what they experienced because they connect with it on some level.
Daniel Damiano is an Award-Winning Playwright, Actor and Poet based in Brooklyn, NY. He is also the Co-Founder/Artistic Director of fandango 4 Art house, with his wife Judy Alvarez. For information on Daniel, visit www.danieldamiano.com. For information on fandango 4 Art House, visit www.fandango4arthouse.weebly.com.
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