About the Play:
Trisha returns to a childhood home, in the mountains of Appalachia, for her father’s funeral, only to discover her hard mother’s buried family secrets and a ghost that haunts them both. RUNNING TIME: 30 Minutes.
Mountain Song will be presented Wedesday, July 20 at 8:00 PM.
Mountain Song will be presented at the Festival Finals on Sunday, July 24 at 2.30 pm.
About the Author:
Josh Beerman is a playwright and director. His writing has been part of the FringeAct Festival of New Work at ACT Theater in Seattle, On the Table at Capitol Hill Arts Center, Theatre Schmeater’s Northwest Playwrights Competition, and in their season. In New York he has had work produced for The Collective, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and was part of the Samuel French Festival in 2010. Josh has worked in casting and assistant directing for Seattle Repertory Theatre and Artist Services for Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has his MFA from the New School for Drama class of 2011.
OOB Festival: Where do you come from (home state, state of mind, or both)?
Josh: North Carolina. It’s very much in my heart.
OOB Festival: Give us five words that describe who you are as a playwright.
Josh: Social, calm, chaotic, fractured, and loving.
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?
Josh: I was in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina last year, snowed in, listening to lots of blue grass, and I started thinking about two things: how much I love the people of rural parts of North Carolina and how fucked up a family can be. A friend of mine was going through some stuff with her Mom–mainly because the stuff her mother did to her while she was being raised–and how that was passed on to her and her siblings.
It occurred to me that the traditions of people in the rural South (and especially the mountains) come from being poor, and working in whatever industry happens to be near by, combine that with generations of people who have a learned pattern of mental or physical abuse and you find a very particular family dynamic. There are lots of secrets. Sometimes these take the form of things I found to be very silly, like being born out of wedlock, to some people that’s a really big deal, and creates years of tension to the point where it becomes a family shame, but that’s a small sort of secret compared to others. There are also these communities way up in the mountains that are the stereotype. People that have been inbred for generations, it’s freaky, but the real deal, and these people have lived that way for so long it becomes life.
OOB Festival: What is one thing you hope audiences will take away your Festival piece? Is there any information you would like them to know before they watch your work performed?
Josh: I think just the idea that we pass things on to each generation. Everything we are is passed on, and it doesn’t matter if you want to or not, it happens sometimes the most when you don’t want it to.
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?
Josh: I’ve been influenced by lots of great playwrights; Arthur Miller, David Mamet, Jon Robin Baitz, Christopher Shinn, and of course Chekov, that’s just a few. I have also found a lot of influence in Movies and more recent television shows. I think the auteur system from movies has crossed over into television with shows like Madmen, and it has become more of a playwrights medium than ever. I mean it’s not theatre, but there’s more art there than ever before. I feel very strongly about animals. I don’t know why but sometimes I can get more passionate about something I can’t communicate with, and I think that has led me to write about people from time to time. It’s weird.
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?
Josh: I would love to write about a community of some kind. That’s pretty vague, but the fact is I love plays with tons of characters, where we see them living their lives. It’s an old fashioned idea, plays used to have huge casts, and you’d really get that feeling, now they are more about what’s producible. I used to write really huge plays, now they are smaller.
OOB Festival: If someone saw you on the street, what’s one fact that they would never guess about you?
Josh: I’m a southern boy. I have no discernible accent most of the time, but get me to say shoo fly pie, or pecan and you can tell where I’m from.
About the Producer:
The New School for Drama has a legacy of vision. Artistic voices as distinctive as Tennessee Williams and Marlon Brando found their singularity here, under the wing of founder Erwin Piscator and a faculty including Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. Since 1994, the university has offered the MFA degree in dramatic arts.
With theater in the air and on its streets as surely as on its hundreds of stages, New York City provides an unrivaled curriculum in observation and a wealth of professional opportunities. Through its interrelated program of acting, directing, and playwriting, The New School for Drama is creative in its simplicity and original in its vision.
The New School is forging the next generation of artists capable of meeting our expectations of storytelling, of seeing ourselves as we truly are, and of touching what is human about art.