This year marks the Season Sweet 16 for the powerful Downtown Urban Arts Festival. The five-week art & culture showcase supplying audiences with live stage works, independent film, cutting-edge music and envelope-pushing poetry, will take up residence in some of lower Manhattan’s most thrilling and celebrated spaces. Running from April 7 through May 12, artists with their finger on the pulse of what the city is thinking will present their works at Theatre 80 St. Marks, Tribeca Film Center, New York Live Arts, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, and Nuyorican Poets Café.
ArtsIndependent will be doing a series of interviews with some of the stage artists prior to showtime. At THEATRE 80 ST. MARKS, 80 ST MARKS PLACE, NEW YORK CITY, a one-man show featuring actor, writer, renaissance man, Daniel Damiano, will premiere entitled AMERICAN TRANQUILITY. We took a few moments of his precious time to hear about Daniel, his play, and the art of storytelling.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 @ 8:00 PM
AMERICAN TRANQUILITY BY Daniel Damiano
A southern retiree, an Iranian subway station poet and percussionist, a talk-radio show host and a Brooklyn existentialist reflect on the human divide in 21st century America.
Also featured that night: SUBLET BY Alisa Zhulina
Tell us about yourself as an artist.
I’m an Actor, Playwright and Poet based in Brooklyn, NY. As an Actor, I’ve played a wide array of lead and character roles and have always relished the opportunity of doing different things in different styles and playing a variety of roles, and working with nice, creative people. As a Playwright, the same holds true, pretty much. Stylistically, I do not marry myself to a specific genre or style, but really savor the opportunity of telling stories about different types of people in different parts of the world that I have a personal connection to, somehow.
Where did you get the idea – the inspiration – for the play?
I wrote AMERICAN TRANQUILITY over the course of a couple of months in the late Winter/Spring of 2017. It was born out of a combination of my desperation to get back on the stage and not wanting to wait for someone to hire me combined with the post-election climate that fed into some of the themes in the piece, along with other themes that I thought meshed well in terms of how they relate to modern America.
The one-person show is gaining GREAT notoriety. What do you consider yourself … an actor or a playwright first?
Very much both. Admittedly, I’ve often kept both very separate in that I love writing plays for other actors – not for myself. However, I’ve fused the two together when I wanted to create a performance opportunity for myself, as I did with my first solo show, THE HYENAS GOT IT DOWN, and my new one, AMERICAN TRANQUILITY. But I love being an Actor (and need to be doing it much more) as I love being a Playwright.
What are your hopes for this play … and goals in general?
For AMERICAN TRANQUILITY, having my druthers, I would love to perform this for a few weeks at a single venue. I think it’ll be timely for a while, and would just love to have the opportunity to share this with more people. I’ve done this a few times already, but just for 1 or 2 night stints. But the thrill of doing this show and having the audience with me in this particular piece is deeply thrilling, so I hope there can be some interest generated by it so that it can have other lives. As far as myself, the goal is always for the opportunities to come a little more easily, both in terms of finding homes for my plays and working as an actor. Anyone who does one, the other or both will tell you that that’s often the biggest challenge because it’s the one thing you can’t control – UNLESS you create your own opportunities, which I’ve done. But it’s certainly nice to have more people know of your work and who will give you opportunities as well, and so making my work known is always something I have to keep at because it simply helps your career.
Any ideas for a full length play? Or at least one with more characters
Most of what I have written has been multi-character plays, of which I’ve written a lot, and I’ve had plays done throughout many parts of the U.S., as well as London, England and Sydney & Melbourne, Australia. And I always look forward to what the next one will be, what will inspire it, how do I connect with it, etc.
My play HARMONY PARK will receive it’s World Premier with Detroit Repertory Theatre in late March and will be running through May 20th. I’m also continuing to work on my first (and probably only) novel, called BUBONIC PEG. There are some other up-in-the air projects that may or may not come to be, so we’ll just see what happens.