Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming premiere of Walken on Sunshine at the New York International Fringe Festival! For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe its premise?
Maggie Carr: Thanks! The show is about an anxiety-ridden filmmaker named Gavin who lies to investors about having Christopher Walken in his film, which leads to him pretending to be the ACTUAL Christopher Walken, which transforms him from a scared mess to an empowered (albeit Walken-esque) movie maker.
Paul Pakler: It’s a rip-roaring farce: TONS of physical comedy; constant entrances and exits; and nearly everyone plays a handful of roles. It’s a blast.
BD: What can you tell us about the creators who brought Walken to life, and how would you describe the creative process of the group?
Maggie Carr: Dave Droxler, the writer who also plays Gavin, is a good friend of mine and had written this as a screenplay a few years ago. Last year sometime, I said, "Hey, you know what, I think this would be a better play, actually," and that's when he wrote the script! Since then, it's basically been me, Dave, his wife Chelsey Shannon (and my fellow executive producer), and our director Marcus Stevens working through it. It's been through a lot of development since then; we had a reading with most of the actors that are now in the show, and they really helped to create the characters and form the storyline, as well. All but a few of us are friends from college; we went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, so we have a short hand with one another. The whole rehearsal process has just been us f--king around and laughing and saying things like, "Wait, lol, what if we..." and I think that fun really comes across in the show.
Paul Pakler: Nearly all of us, actors and production team, met at Point Park University as theatre majors or in the New York theatre scene. About ten years ago, Dave Droxler had envisioned the piece as a film, and we shot a trailer for it - dancing in the streets of the West Village, like you do. A few years later, Dave revisited the script, adapted it into a play, and, since then, he’s gone through countless revisions. We went from a cast of about two dozen actors down to five. Dave and I are the only actors still remaining from that initial shoot! And each version Dave comes back with is better than the last. It’s really exciting.
BD: Walken on Sunshine has had an amazingly fun presence on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. How do you feel that audience response has been thus far, and are there any fun stories that you are able to share regarding the production of the show?
Maggie Carr: The audience response on social media is the best part! We all love Christopher Walken, so the response to a show that is basically WALKEN-THEMED had been tremendous. It practically sells itself. Dave and I have both had experiences where we're explaining the premise to someone at a coffee shop or a diner and having someone from another table being like, "I hate to interrupt, but where can I see this? This sounds hilarious."
Paul Pakler: The social media experience has really been icing on the cake. We’ve had so much fun interacting with people as well as creating new content advertising the show. If you have a chance, definitely check out all the videos on our YouTube page.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
Maggie Carr: We want audiences to have fun, or course, but the whole show also serves as a kind of pep rally for artists who are having a hard time. Being a writer, filmmaker, actor, etc. is so f—king hard; it's full of disappointment. An artist that was coming to see the show would follow Gavin on his path to finding his own self worth, and, hopefully, that would help them see their own self-worth, as well. It's a show about being an artist and about being enough, and if we can encourage artists to go out and be silly and make stuff, we've done our job.
Paul Pakler: I hope that they laugh until they’re exhausted. That’s literally how every rehearsal has been for us. I’ve been lucky to work on a lot of fantastic projects, but this has been, hands down, the funniest.
BD: Inquiring minds want to know . . . will Christopher Walken be making an appearance in the performance?
Maggie Carr: I don't want to give anything away...but let's just say we may be putting some stuff out into the interwebs about reaching him very soon.
Paul Pakler: Who?
BD: What makes the New York International Fringe Festival the best venue for the show?
Maggie Carr: The Soho Playhouse is amazing, because it's a classic theatre in the middle of one of the coolest spots in NYC. It's a great location to see a fun show (like Walken On Sunshine) and get a drink at a trendy bar afterward. It's hipster-tastic.
Paul Pakler: The fast and loose process of rehearsing and staging for the Fringe has allowed us to create incredibly imaginative ways to stage the show. The style and tone and staging of this production would most likely not exist if it weren’t for being a part of the New York Fringe.
BD: The show will be running from August 13-26, 2016. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
Maggie Carr: Fringe is only the beginning for Walken On Sunshine! Hopefully, it will be coming to another theatre near you soon!
Paul Pakler: I hope so! I could work with this team forever.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
Maggie Carr: I'm starring in a horror film, Help Me First, premiering at Fantastic Fest this September, and I'm acting in Hand to God at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA, right after this, but neither of those is related to Walken. I'm also an avid cult-loving Instagrammer: @maggicar
Paul Pakler: I’m currently writing a dramatic play called Pittsburghese, which I hope to be finished by the fall. Also, I’m a co-host on the Fanbase Press podcast, Quality Time with Family Ties, on which two friends and I watch and review every episode of the ‘80s sitcom, Family Ties. Check us out!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Walken on Sunshine?
Maggie Carr: Follow us on everything!
FACEBOOK: Walken On Sunshine
Paul Pakler: Also, if you LOVE esoteric theatre humor, follow actor/vocal coach/idealist, Dante Cresta (@CrestaDante). He would tell you that he’s the star of Walken on Sunshine.