In case you haven’t noticed, it’s pretty hot outside… summer, yeah… summertime! What that also means is it’s theatre festival season. If you live on the motto that “life is like a box of chocolates,” you can easily apply the same to the festival circuit. Festivals hold lovely truffles covered with exquisite themes, filled with yummy character developments that leave you with a thought provoking aftertaste. They also have strange, oversweetened eerie stuff.
Out of the Midtown International Theatre Festival box –a festival running from July 12th through August 1st in the Big Apple– I’ve chosen a couple of possibly lovely truffles. We start our first Q&A with Joshua Rivedal, writer/performer for The Gospel According To Josh.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I think at a young age- maybe around 10 I knew. I wrote a few short historical fiction stories for a fourth grade class project and loved every minute of it. I’ve always been writing creatively but discovered I loved the art of playwriting only a few years ago.
What is your show about?
My show is about a naive boy who has dreams of Hollywood stardom, clashes with his pious religious father and goes on a journey to become a man by pursuing his dream any way possible including starring in two reality TV shows and then ultimately having to deal with his father’s suicide.
If you had to single out a quality between dialogue, plot or character, which one is the strongest in your project, and why?
I would say all three are strengths of the show but since I have to choose one I would say character. I and my director took great pains to really bring to life the character that was my father and make him not just a tyrant but giving him human qualities. Not to mention the other 30 characters that are in the play from Sammy Davis Jr, to Moms Mabley, to a gaggle of silly flamboyant gay men.
What is the funniest thing that has happened, and what is the most frustrating thing that has happened so far during this experience?
The funniest thing to happen is people’s response to the show’s artwork. It’s my face with a goofy expression pasted on Jesus’ body. Everyone has a one line zinger when they see it. The most frustrating thing is managing all the hats you wear- producer, writer, actor… it’s a hell of a lot of work (But worth it).
Name one show in the festival you are planning on checking out, and why?
I am definitely going to check out Asian Belle. I think a lot of her themes and experiences are similar to mine and we also share the same writing coach Matt Hoverman. I’ve seen some of her piece in a workshop setting and really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see the full piece.
The Gospel According To Josh
written, performed by Joshua Rivedal
directed by Joshua Gaboian.
Playing July 16th through August 1st at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre (312 W. 36th St, 1st Floor).
Tickets are $18 (Students $15) available at www.MidtownFestival.org