Friday, January 15, 2010

Interview with Playwright Julian DeZotti

Guns and Roses: The Play - Closes January 15th
More Here -

1. What was your inspiration for writing this play?
I started writing this back in university as an assignment for a playwriting class and I was still interested in telling a "high school" story at the time that wasn't teen issue/high drama.

2. Who are you looking at to attract in your audience?
A NEW theatre audience - people who see theatre as this place for big budget musicals or Shakespeare. I wanted to get people interested in a good old fashioned stage play, reach outside the Toronto indie theatre community. This includes youth as well who either don't have access to theatre because of how much it costs or lack of interest. They are so bombarded with media these days, I wanted to attract them to the live medium, one I strongly believe in.

3. Are there school groups attending?
Yes we have a couple Arts schools in the area coming, and we are bringing a school from a low income neighbourhood as well because it should be accessible to all!

4. What sort of research was involved? Who did you speak with?
I spoke with teenagers (and just overheard conversations on the subway), friends of mine who were involved in rave and ecstasy culture when they were in their teens. I also did a lot of book reading, articles, documentaries, etc. I had people who work at Breakaway Youth and Family Services assess the accuracy of the script, specifically the behaviour of the characters when under the influence. That in tandem with dramaturgical work - a lot of colleagues read it and gave feedback on that.

5. Why Rosedale neighbourhood teens as opposed to other sections of the city?
Rosedale has a very affluent area with some low-income apartments sometimes in the same neigbourhood. I was interested in trying to cover that socio-economic spectrum in the story.

6. When did you finish high school? How old are you now?
I finished 10 years ago now. I am currently 27. I started writing it when I was 22. It sat in a drawer for almost four years in between then.

7. Do you consider a big difference between pot and ecstasy experimentation with youth?
Yes and No. YES because they are two VERY different drugs - ecstasy is manufactured, the primary component being MDMA and then its mixed with a lot of other stuff one usually does not know about before taking it. Its affects are more potent especially on the chemistry of your body. Pot is natural, it's a plant and its affects are less intense. NO because the key word is experimentation. For the most part, teenagers are going to try new things (alcohol, drugs, etc) for many different reasons, one being it is just a part of growing up.

8. How did you connect with the others involved with the project? What sort of call out was done or was it friends and friends of friends?
Because of the lack of rehearsal time and production time I could not hold auditions. I also needed to go with people who I've had experience rehearsing with (we only had two weeks) or people that I trusted recommending someone to me. For the most part I just made the calls. Two of the actors are from the reading I had last year at Canadian Stage.

9. Why Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts (North York) instead of a more central rep type theatre?
Outside of the generous support of Canadian Stage and Roseneath Theatre through staged readings, the TCFPA were the only ones who offered me an opportunity at a full scale production. And they have an intimate, beautiful space.

10. Any plans on the horizon to remount in other locations, perhaps part of Fringe or Summerworks?
That is the hope! We will see what response we get after this run. But the hope is to attract some other companies or producers to help remount. Touring is always an option. The TCFPA has also expressed interest in a possible remount as well.

11. What is the Original Norwegian?
It is a line from our first play called "Half Empty", which is about trying to stage a modern day adaptation of Ibsen's play "An Enemy Of The People". It has sentimental value for me, if nothing else.

Guns and Roses: The Play - Closes January 15th
More Here -

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