Interview with Molly Rice

Reposted from Adam Szymkowski's Blog. This is a nice interview with FUTURITY Collaborator and spiritual super-genius Molly Rice

Molly Rice

Hometown: Born in Houston, TX, but Austin is home.

Current Town: New York City

Q: Tell me about the Saints Tour and Futurity the Musical.

A: SAINTS TOUR means a lot to me. I wrote the play in 2009 for Ray Rizzo's live arts exchange MOTHERLODGE, to take place in Louisville, KY. The play was a bus tour, led by a "Tour Guide" character who uncovers the secret saints of a local area. I wrote it using Google Maps Street View, never having been to Louisville, and Ray connected me to local musicians willing to be planted around the city for audiences to discover. Actress Emily Hyberger (a Louisville native), director/ writer/ actor Marc Bovino, and I went down and put the thing together in a week. And it was just magical. We had local sax player Mauriece echoing through the Salvation Army's cavernous 1950's gymnasium, and Louisville singer/ songwriter Tyrone Cotton singing about time in a graveyard, showered by white cherry blossoms, and so many other magical Louisville moments. We enlisted the Center of Hope Soup Kitchen, where the tour ended and we all ate a meal together. It was Community Theater, in the deepest sense of the word. I wrote it to be redesign-able for production in different communities, each time using a local actor and musicians, local sites, and a local community service organization-- so this Spring director Rachel Chavkin and I tested its flexibility in the West Village as a walking tour, with Taylor Mac as the Tour Guide and 20 participating artists and musicians (!!!). Totally different-- the Village itself was a character-- but totally interesting to see its translation. I plan to do it in as many cities as I can. The play is a story, but also a sort of frame to showcase these rich little pockets of culture out there that we sometimes lose sight of in New York. And as a writer, the sites just unfold into stories in the most exciting way.

FUTURITY is a beautiful example of a contemporary music/ theater hybrid. It was conceived and developed by the Lisps, a strange, smart Brooklyn band who I'd never heard of. I went and saw a presentation of FUTURITY at Joe's Pub in Spring 2009 because somebody sent me an email about it and it sounded cool, and I was like, this is fascinating-- there is something special here. I was touched by the way it balanced intellectual ideas with the emotional force of music. I felt like its book might need some development and that I might be a good match, so I connected with them and joined the team. The story is about a Civil War soldier and his imaginary relationship with mathemetician/ Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace, which is fascinating enough, but at root the play's about the way science and art talk to each other, push each other forward, from one era to the next. I'm thrilled to be working on it.

I love working on strange music/ theater hybrids like these two. I was into music from early on--singer/ songwriter out of high school, went to Austin for college and promptly quit to play in bands. Music and story cleave to each other in my brain-- they're never fully separate strands of narrative. Even straight plays feel like compositions, and songs and compositions have a shape that feels like story. I'm interested in trying to 'braid' them in new ways, and with these two projects I'm still working it out.

Read the full interview HERE...


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