Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your production, Moose & Darlene’s Cosmic Do-Over, will soon be debuting as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the show’s premise and format?
Curtis Krick: Moose & Darlene's Cosmic Do-Over is an adventure across time in a desperate attempt to avert global climate catastrophe. With jokes. It's an original play in six scenes, just under 50 minutes in length, tracing back through human history and technological development to explore ideas of cause and effect and the question of whether or not a species as successful as ours must inevitably be the author of its own doom.
But it's also about romantic love and sibling rivalry, about familial obligation and the need to assert your own individual identity, and it explores the ethical and moral dimensions of assassination and just how hard it really is to actually kill another human being even if you think their death will benefit millions of people.
And it's really, really funny.
BD: As the writer, producer, and director of the show, what inspired you to bring this production to life?
CK: Three things: First, I'm a big fan of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I love the energy and the vibe of the whole thing. Every year I try to find a way to dive in deeper.
Second, as a follow up to the production of Macbeth we did at the studio/stage last fall, I was looking for a way to keep the momentum going. I explored a number of possibilities and settled on this idea for a show that I've had for something like ten years. I started writing in February and enough of my friends and colleagues responded positively to the script, so we decided to move forward.
Finally, is there a more urgent challenge facing us than climate change? Given the consequences, it's hard to think of something more important to be talking about right now.
BD: You have a fantastic team involved with the project. What can you share with us about the creative process of working with the cast and crew throughout the production process?
CK: I agree that the team is fantastic! Our cast includes a couple of expert improvisational artists. Josh Covitt is a veteran of Upright Citizens Brigade. I've been looking for a way to work with him again since he appeared in our award-winning improv feature mockumentary, Something Blue. You can catch his work every Tuesday night at UCB with the group Outside Dog Gets One Star.
And Aliza Pearl is a member of Impro Theatre's The Improvised Generation, a fantastic improv show based on the world of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'm a huge Trek fan and Aliza's a big sci-fi nerd, so we pretty much instantly hit it off.
And then there's Dawn Alden who played Lady M for me last October. If you ever get a chance to work with Dawn and you don't do it, then you're missing out. And if you ever get a chance to see Dawn on stage, you should take it! Not only is Dawn playing Darlene's uber-Trinity-like sister Becky, she's also the fight choreographer, so all our combat is going to be a lot of fun.
Behind the scenes we have set and video designs by Matthew Hill, an award-winning designer whose work around town is very well known. I always feel so lucky to get to collaborate with Matt. We've done several projects together over the years and I hope we get to keep doing more and more.
My colleague from the world of visual effects Kevin Kutchaver has contributed to our projections. Kevin's credits include Return of the Jedi, as well as the Hercules and Xena series. So, there's a lot of nerd street cred in our production team.
Rachel Harmon and John Ruml from Macbeth are back designing costumes and sound respectively. And Betsy Acosta is our lighting designer.
We've had a lot of fun putting the pieces of this production together. The actors have brought their improv skills to bear. The result is a breezy, natural feel to some ridiculous, sci-fi situations. The show is a lot of fun to watch.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show, and should theatregoers anticipate audience interaction?
CK: We’ve been joking about having a moment just after the curtain call where the cast comes forward in a very "serious," After-School Special way and says something like, “You know we've had a lot of fun tonight, but climate change is no joke...”
I asked a friend who read the script if the subject matter was too serious to be flippant about. He suggested I put that line in the show.
Sci-fi has a long history of addressing serious social issues framed in a way that allows audiences to consider them with fresh eyes. That's very much what the original Star Trek was doing back in the '60s. Theater, too, has an even longer tradition of confronting us with realities we may be otherwise reluctant to face. And comedy has often been the spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. That's what Shaw was doing with every play he wrote.
We should be talking about climate change and the very serious threat it poses to life on this planet. We should find a way to move past the political binary of is it real/is it fake and start talking seriously about solutions that are long overdue. This show can be a part of that, a catalyst for conversation and action.
And there are also people who think that a technological magic bullet solution is going to appear where someone like Elon Musk will pop on their tv screens and tell them to relax, he's going to recharge the Earth's atmosphere or something. I think those kinds of fantasies are extremely dangerous. I hope this play can burst that bubble for some people.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Moose & Darlene?
CK: Although I've had the idea for this show for a long time, this production has been specially crafted with HFF in mind. I think the blend of comedy, sci-fi, and serious subject matter will really land in Fringe Fest audience's strike zones. We're happy to be back in the studio/stage space. Jenn and Greg are terrific to work with. So, for us, this production is an exciting combination of the familiar and comfortable, as well as the frighteningly, unpredictably brand new, which is what the Fringe should always be about in my opinion.
BD: The show will be appearing at studio/stage from June 1-23, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
CK: I’m super excited to see how audiences will react to the show. At the office hours get-together a couple of weeks ago, I met a fellow Fringer who told me that this will be the second or third production of his show. Before that, they had workshopped it for I don't know how long. I didn't say anything but I got more and more nervous because we haven't done any of that! So, it's a real high wire act in some ways. But again, I think that's very Fringe Fest.
Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll ask us to extend? That would be a big honor. I'm toying with the idea of submitting the show to other festivals. There was even the suggestion that the show would work well as an animated show (not least of which may be because of the great poster Matt Hill designed).
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
CK: I think there are something like 400 shows at this year's HFF. I'm going to try to see as many of those as I can. Some friends are re-mounting their production of a play called Crunch which I got to see an earlier version of a few months ago. That's worth checking out. And Dawn Alden is also doing another Fringe show called Hercules Insane by the The School of Night who did that amazing adaptation of Edward II last year called The Faggot King. I'm excited to see their new show.
As for myself, I'll be returning for season four of SyFy's series, The Magicians, as the VFX Co-Supervisor. For me, that will start just before the Fringe gets underway. It'll air in early 2019 (if we're all still here).
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Moose & Darlene’s Cosmic Do-Over?
Check out mooseanddarlene.org. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Tickets are $15. Use promo code "timey wimey" to get two tickets for $20. Our preview performance on 6/1 is pay what you can – use promo code relativity.
We'll see you at the Fringe!