Previously, I blogged about talented performers, Oded Gross and Regan Forman. The pair wrote and starred in one of the funniest stage performances you’ve never heard of called The Comedy of Oedipus Rex.
I decided to contact Oded and he was kind enough to actually answer my questions rather than dismiss me as a crazy stalker (which is what I would have done). This is my interview with Oded:
ME: Did anything happen after the HBO Workspace?
ODED: The HBO Workspace was a place to develop shows which would hopefully catch the eye of some of the big shots at HBO and then they would throw money at the show’s performers to do said show on their Network. Sadly, that never happened for us. Nobody has ever thrown money at me.
ME Thinking: (Funny, that seems to be a recurring theme with people I know in this business, excepting, of course Justin Lin.)
ME: Regarding the show I saw The Comedy of Romeo and Juliet and The Comedy of Oedipus Rex, did you and your wife come up with the material together?
ODED: Both Romeo and Juliet and Oedipus Rex were written by me but my wife was and still is a vital collaborator in the writing process. They are both Commedia Dell’arte inspired plays and therefore have a fair amount of improvisation during the development process. My wife happens to be a wonderful improviser and an all around great lady, to boot.
ME Thinking: (Oded must be a very wise husband to acknowledge his wife’s greatness. I will make my husband read this blog.)
ME: You mentioned that you are rewriting the play. So does that mean we’ll be seeing a revival?
ODED: I am re-writing the whole play, Tragedy, which includes Oedipus Rex. After performing this play back in the nineties, I adapted it into a feature film. The film came out great! That is to say, the film would have come out great if anyone opted to make it. No one did, so it sits among the ones and zeros in my computer. Having said that, I am quite proud of the screenplay. Recently, I have been earning a living as a playwright (among other things). I co-adapted The Servant of Two Masters for Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009 and this year I co-adapted The Imaginary Invalid also for Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Consequently, I decided to revisit Tragedy. The re-write I am doing for it is merely to make a draft that reads off the page. The performance draft that my wife and I worked off of had many improvised jokes that while funny in performance, didn’t read well in text. I want to have a version of this play that stands on it own and does not need to be seen to be appreciated. I would love to re-mount a production of this play and when someone starts throwing money at me to re-mount it, I will do it gladly.
ME: Where do you get your inspiration for your comedy?
ODED: I am inspired by many things, not the least of which are my limitations. I just did a lecture on this very topic, in fact, describing how limitations fuel all creativity, comedy or otherwise. If this topic interests you, I am planning to do the lecture again on a Ted Talk. The people that run the Ted Talks do not yet know this, but I am hopeful that they will be OK with it. Beyond my many personal and professional limitations, I am also inspired by my wife, my kids and my liberal bias.
ME: Is it more difficult to act or to write?
ODED: As to what’s more difficult, acting or writing, it largely depends on what I am acting in or writing about. I story produce for reality TV and that is quite a grind. Auditioning for commercials is equally taxing. Generally, most of the things that I have written which have been good were pretty effortless. I have a large collection of material that I’ve belabored for months and in the end turned out quite crappy.
ME: Has it been tough getting acting gigs?
ODED: It has been very tough for me to get acting gigs, so much so that I have all but quit. I love it, but I love feeding my family more. Thankfully, I still perform music and comedy fairly regularly. And every now and then I am lucky enough to get asked to act in a project being done by one of my more successful friends. If Justin Lin is looking, I am available.