The Underpants Godot, at the UNFringed Festival
An Interview with Duncan Pflaster
Indie Theater Now asked Duncan Pflaster a few questions about this upcoming event.
What’s this play about? Please give us a brief synopsis (a sentence or two) and also talk about what you believe to be the most important theme(s) in the play.
The play is about a director who plans to stage a production of "Waiting for Godot", but with hot young men in their underwear instead of old men in the roles, and casting a real-life gay couple in the leads to emphasize the homoerotic bond of the main characters. A representative from the notoriously religious Samuel Beckett estate crashes a rehearsal to investigate, to see if the play should be shut down, or if (as the director claims), his interpretation serves the text.
Why did you want to write about this subject/theme?
I am always fascinated by the idea of new interpretations of classic plays. Text is so malleable, that something like "The Merchant of Venus" can be an interesting endeavor. On the other hand, I don't necessarily want a n00b audience member seeing a radically wild interpretation of a classic without knowing the baseline that's being riffed on. I saw Charles Marowitz's "Variations on Measure for Measure" before actually seeing "Measure for Measure" and its fascinating restructuring of the text (nearly everything bad that's supposed to happen in the original Shakespeare actually DOES), spoiled the original for me a bit.
How did you decide what names to give the characters in this play?
I named Tim and Mark after actors who'd been in my plays in the past, Biff after the character from Back to the Future, Kevin after a friend who would probably play the role if he lived in NYC, Jenna after a stage manager I love working with, one of the names is a joke about pretentious three-named directors, and the last is a pun.
Describe your writing process. Do you write longhand, on a computer, a tablet? Do you write every day? Do you outline the play beforehand?
I outline the play in broad strokes beforehand, then usually type directly. Though I do carry a pad and pen with me at all times for writing down ideas, and large chunks of my plays get written that way on the subway or such.
Is there a character in this play that you particularly identify with? Which one, and why?
Well, Doug, the director, is loosely based on me. I had the idea after watching the brilliant Patrick Stewart / Ian McKellen version of Godot a few years ago on Broadway, and joking that there wasn't enough nudity and sex in it, that a stripped-down version of the play, with guys in nothing but underpants, boots, and hats, might be provocative and interesting. Following the underpants train of thought, Lucky would be naked, and Pozzo in a union suit (with his backflap unbuttoned)... I considered just staging it as a benefit, but then realized I'd probably never get the rights, and anyway, the Beckett estate would probably try to stop me... And then it hit me that a fictionalized version of THAT was the play.
posted August 13, 2015