Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The production, Life Plan, or How to Life Your Best Life in a Collapsing World!, will be appearing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival this summer. For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe its premise?
Matthew Latkiewicz: Life Plan is immersive, satirical sci-fi. The audience is in attendance at a timeshare sales pitch from our dystopian future, where they are being offered the opportunity to live their dream life. But things are not exactly what they seem.
Over the course of 80 minutes, the audience will learn about the program Life Plan is offering, the world of 2068 in which it is set, and hear from people currently in the Life Plan program. The experience is like being inside an episode of Black Mirror (one of the funny ones, though - not one of those that make you want to jump off a bridge).
BD: As the co-writer of the show, what inspired the creation of this project?
ML: Like many people, I am overwhelmed and fearful about the direction our world seems to be going, and I struggle with how to live in that world in a positive and meaningful way. The perils and realities of climate change, economic disparity, and clashing fundamentalisms are incredibly daunting, and the capitalist playground we live in makes it is so easy to bury our heads in our phones, ignore the future, and just focus on ourselves (and living our best life!). Life Plan is me wrestling with this situation. How do you live your best life in a collapsing world? What should our lives look like over the next 50 years? What will they look like?
These were the questions fueling/haunting me while writing Life Plan. Also, I used to work in the tech industry, and Life Plan is a direct satirization of the culture I experienced there.
BD: What can you tell us about the cast and crew who are bringing Life Plan to life, and how would you describe the creative process by the ensemble?
ML: The Life Plan cast is made up of four actors, all of whom studied theater in college and are working actors in Los Angeles: Cami Devonay, Jonathan Brooks, Alicia Luoma, and myself. (I’m the only one who didn’t graduate from acting school; I transferred and—my poor parents—became a philosophy major.) The show is directed by Paul Hogan, who I met when he directed a season of the television show I created for truTV called You Can Do Better.
Because the format of the show is so unique—it’s in the form of a sales or tech presentation—our process has been a lot about how to play to and engage the audience. While our characters all have relationships with one another, the main relationship they have is with the audience, i.e. the people we are trying to sell the program to. This means we need to be very tuned into the audience’s energy. We need to get them on our side, like a salesperson does, and so the dynamics of the show depend a lot on immersive techniques.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
ML: Like a lot of the art I like, Life Plan asks a lot of crazy questions that don’t seem that crazy the more you think about them. I am hoping the audience leaves the show and heads directly to the bar or the coffee shop to discuss it. It is decidedly intellectual theater, and satirizes tech culture, capitalism, and American individualism. My hope is the audience gains a new perspective on these things.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival the best venue for Life Plan?
ML: Fringe is for the weird stuff! I am so excited to be a part of a community of theater makers who are experimenting and pushing the boundaries of the art form, and I can’t wait to see what other people are putting up. Life Plan is like no theater I’ve seen and that seems to be what Fringe is all about.
BD: The show will be appearing at the studio / stage theatre from June 8-28, 2019. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
ML: There are currently no plans to bring the show elsewhere, but there are lots of hopes to do so. I would love to take it to other Fringe festivals (I’ve heard Kansas City and Fresno have a good fringe.), and my dream is to do it up in San Francisco since so much of it is a satire of tech culture.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
ML: None beyond Life Plan!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Life Plan?
ML: Tickets are on sale now at http://bit.ly/life-plan-show. The preview show is June 8 at 4pm, and tickets are only $1!
All other performances are $15, but readers who use offer code “Fanbase” will get $5 off. All performances are at studio/stage at 520 N. Western Ave just south of Melrose.
June 8, 4pm (Preview)
June 15, 11:30pm
June 19, 6:30pm
June 23, 4:00pm
June 28, 10:00pm