About the Play:
When John Adams and Benjamin Franklin are forced to share a bed at a crowded inn, Adams discovers the challenges of snuggling up with the world’s most accomplished man (based on true events). RUNNING TIME: 10 minutes.
Bedfellows will be presented Friday, July 22 at 6:30 PM.
Bedfellows will be presented at the Festival Finals, Sunday, July 24 at 1:00 PM.
About the Author
Adam Peltzman’s short comedy, Jest for the Day, was a finalist at the 2011 New York City 15 Minute Play Festival at The American Globe Theatre. Other produced stage work includes an adaptation of the animated children’s show, The Backyardigans, which toured nationally in 2008. Many of his other plays can be seen in various locations throughout his computer’s hard drive. Adam has written for numerous children’stelevision series including stints as head writer on The Electric Company, The Backyardigans, and Blue’s Clues. He has won an Emmy® award and received multiple nominations for his television work. Adam is the creator of a pilot currently in production at Nickelodeon and is working on several original projects for stage and screen. He has years of experience doing improvisational comedy and is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Sarah, who is also his director of choice.
OOB Festival: Where do you come from (home state, state of mind, or both)?
Adam: Born in New York, grew up in Massachusetts, back in New York, loyal to the Red Sox but all in on the Knicks.
OOB Festival: Give us five words that describe who you are as a playwright.
Adam: Improvisational, playful, comedic, new, frisky.
OOB Festival: Talk about your entry to this year’s Festival. How did you come to write this play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation?
Adam: I was reading John Adams, the biography by David McCullough, and came upon a story about a night when Adams and Benjamin Franklin were forced to share the same bed in a crowded inn in New Jersey in 1776. They got into a heated little tiff about whether the window should be opened or closed, debating the cause of the common cold.
Immediately I thought it would make for a fun little short play. I was amused by the image of these legendary figures of American history, with their proud accomplishments and lofty language, having to deal with something so intimate and awkward as sharing a bed. So I started to write it and as I did I realized that I empathized with Adams. The poor guy had to snuggle up with a world-famous inventor, author, and statesmen who created endless groundbreaking books, scientific inventions, and social institutions. It’s really just absurd how much Franklin accomplished in his life. If I had to share a bed with him I’d feel incredibly inadequate. So the play ended up becoming about that.
OOB Festival: What is one thing you hope audiences will take away from your Festival piece? Is there any information you would like them to know before they watch your work performed?
Adam: I hope the audience just gets a kick out of it and feels like they are peeking in on an awkward little moment in American history.
What I’d want people to know beforehand is that this is a fictionalized interpretation of a true event. I referenced a few sources to get the basic facts about the incident: Adams and Franklin shared a bed in an inn in New Brunswick, squabbled about whether the window should be open or closed, and debated about what causes the common cold. There are some journal accounts of some of the things they said to each other and I worked some of that in to about two or three lines of dialogue. I also referenced facts about the two men, mostly pertaining to Franklin’s achievements. The rest is just my imagining of how the scene might have unfolded, with a whole slew of creative liberties taken. I don’t think the audience will have much trouble figuring out what some of those liberties are. For example – did the real Thomas Jefferson struggle with flatulence? Probably not. But the Jefferson referred to in the play was a gassy, gassy man.
OOB Festival: What/who are some of the major influences on your writing? What’s the most unconventional place/thing that you’ve taken inspiration from?
Adam: Some influences, in no particular order: Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Eugene Ionesco, Jim Henson, Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, Tina Fey, The Marx Brothers, my wife, and all Three of the Amigos. Most unconventional source of inspiration…a self-help book about hugging.
OOB Festival: What is your “dream play”–that is, if the more restrictive elements of production (budget, space, casting, and technical elements) were not a consideration, what type of theatre piece would you create?
Adam: Two words: real unicorns.
Barring that, I remember leaving the theater after seeing Avenue Q for the first time and saying, “Damn it, why didn’t I write that?” (Answer: because it’s incredibly difficult and because those other guys did). I think my sensibilities would work well with a loose and irreverent musical comedy, and I’d like to try my hand at one some day. If I can get one going with the unicorns, all the better.
OOB Festival: If someone saw you on the street, what’s one fact that they would never guess about you?
Adam: They’d probably never say, “Hey, I bet that guy is allergic to fruit skins and uncooked carrots, and he was probably also recently pinned to the ground by a tree in a tornado in Brooklyn!” But if they did say that…they’d be right.