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FRIGID New York Festival 2011 – Five Questions For: Goodnight Lovin’ Trail

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 24, 2011

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Welcome back to another installment of FRIGID New York Festival 2011 Q&A!  We’ll be running these throughout February, so be sure to check back to read all about the great shows that will be taking part in the festival.  Also – don’t miss the winner-take-all game of Rock Paper Scissors! Today’s Q&A is with John Patrick Bray,  Playwright of Goodnight Lovin’ Trail.

Goodnight Lovin’ Trail is a subtle and touching drama that takes place at a truck stop diner in West Texas, where two desperate and lonely strangers find redemption in each other’s eyes while discussing a stolen guitar. The play explores raw human emotions and consequences while these two desperate characters navigate and come to terms with the choices they’ve made on the road of life.

Good Night Lovin' Trail

answers John Patrick Bray, Playwright

Antonio Asks: What makes FRIGID such a warm and welcoming experience for your production?
It’s a joy being a part of downtown theatre. This is really home for me.

Diánna Asks: What about this play do you feel most drawn to personally, and because of that, what message do you hope the audience walks away with?
Well, it’s a simple story. Two people trying to figure something out. They each have a past. My hope is that audiences will be able to witness a moment of basic human justice.

Karen Asks: That’s some title.  How did you come up with it – and what does it mean?
The title Goodnight Lovin’ Trail comes from the name of an actual cattle trail, The Goodnight-Loving Trail, which gets its name from Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. Goodnight and Loving were also the subject of a great book, Lonesome Dove, which is also a great mini-series. It was also the subject of a great folk song by the late Utah Philips, which has been covered by a number of folks, including Tom Waits. For me, the trail is a metaphor for trials and tribulations, and losses along life’s rough and tumble, unmarked road.

Stephen Asks: You must have a favorite part of your show.  What makes it your favorite?
I would tell you my favorite part of the show, but that would be giving it away ;) I certainly have a favorite, and I’m always happy to see that moment. But again, you’ll have to see the play.

Lina Asks: How much of your show was inspired by true events?
This is a tough question, primarily because I feel all works, even those entirely based in the imaginary world(s), are to some extent autobiographical. I’m inspired by just about everything. I process it, put my polish on it, and return it to the world. I guess the playwright is the great adapter! (“Great” might be pushing it ;)). I wrote the piece after looking at a picture of a really down-and out fella. He looked in need of a cigarette. At the time I was also really into the paintings of Edward Hopper. I took the picture, the paintings, and the music of Sarah Vaughan (a buddy of mine had made me a series of mix-tapes featuring Sassy), and I stirred them all together.

THM Bonus Question: If you could play a virtual game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with another FRIGID Show which show would you take on?  And what would you throw?

I’m happy to take anyone on, and I always throw “hat.” Not just any “hat,” but my ol’ Irish cap. My wife calls it a “Paddy Cap.” It’s tweed, has the button on top, made in Donegal, Ireland. It can resist scissors, stuffing it with paper only gives it a shape, and I’ve seen it kick the shit outta rocks. True story.

Thanks Goodnight Lovin’ Trail – for participating in The Happiest Medium’s FRIGID New York Festival 2011 Q&A.  And for playing our game! You are officially HAT. Ordinarily I’d say this disqualifies you, but damn . . . that’s some hat. And you took on “anyone” which . . . honestly I take to mean “everyone”. So, you’re the winner of the whole damn shebang. WOW, Goodnight Lovin’ Trail. Uh. May. Zing. This is how it works in the crazy world of the VIRTUAL ROCK PAPER SCISSORS TOURNAMENT!

Meanwhile, for the rest of you – don’t forget to check out Goodnight Lovin’ Trail!

Goodnight Lovin’ Trail
Written by John Patrick Bray & Directed by Akia Squitieri
Presented by Rising Sun Performance Company New York, NY
The Red Room (85 East 4th Street) $12
Wed 2/23 @ 11pm, Sat 2/26 @ 6:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 6:30pm, Thu 3/3 @ 8pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 3:30pm

FRIGID New York Festival 2011 will run February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1sr Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows will run 60 minutes long or less.

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