The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer at FringeNYC
An Interview with Michael Bradley
Indie Theater Now asked Michael Bradley a few questions about his play The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer.
How do you like to develop new plays? For example: do you like to have lots of readings and workshops to hear/see the play as it evolves? Or do you let the characters guide you and then put a more-or-less finished product up on its feet?
I am very much a character-driven writer. Situations or stories may be the start of my inspiration but characters are really what shape my plays. When I get an idea for a play, I start writing, usually from the beginning. Or if I don’t have a beginning, I’ll write the scene that is inspiring me. I tend to not do a reading until I have a complete beginning, middle, and end. For me, it’s most helpful having a full production ready. In the world of self-producing, I’ll usually find a way to have at least one reading of my play. And then it will sit. Sit until I find the right venue or festival for it to find life.
How much time passed from your first thinking about the outline for this play and actually finishing the play and how was that time spent?
I started writing The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer in 2012. I was reading Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and found my inspiration to write a story of a man on a journey for self-discovery in the modern age. At first, I wanted to make a true adaptation but as I continued on and created this Peer’s adventure, I began to stray. And that officially happens when Boyg is introduced. He’s a character that is only a voice in a very short scene in the original. I extended him to be a guide and guardian for my Peer. This play only took a couple of months to finish writing because I had a solid skeleton to work from. From that point, I had two drastically different readings in the summer of 2012 and the winter of 2013. After the last reading, I took a break from it. It was a very ambitious play and I knew that I could not do the play as a production until I had the right people and resources. When I was thinking of a play to submit to FringeNYC this year, I reexamined the script, knew the absolute perfect director for the project and material, and here we are!
Why is this a play (as opposed to a TV script, webseries, film, etc.?)
The Illusory Adventures of a Dreamer is inspired by a play and just has that play mentality. The magic, the mystery, the theatricality. It’s absolutely destined to be on stage! I’m sure a film version would be fun but the charm would be lost.
Do you self-produce or always work with a theater company you are familiar with or do you send your work out to numerous contests, festivals, etc. and how does this work out for you?
For the majority of my career, almost every play of mine that has seen a stage, has been self-produced. And I take great pride in that! I founded a theater company called Rhapsody Collective in 2012 where I bring a group of young artists (playwrights, directors, actors, dramaturgs) together to create work from the ground up. I select a theme and each team must create a play that lives in the world of the theme. I hope my experience with Fringe will allow me to get some new eyes that appreciate my work and are eager to help bring my work to life. I know my wallet will be greatly appreciative! Festivals fees are NOT cheap.
What current topic or issue just cries out to be made into a play?
The thrill of theater is that anything and anyone can be made into a play. It’s the approach that makes it worthy of the theatrical treatment. Personally, I would love to, and have plans to, create some sort of epic, technically-driven piece about social media, the evolution of modern technology, and how it has literally changed our lives, for better or worse. The “Like” generation.
posted July 30, 2016