Friday, August 17, 2007

Wichmann Steps Up to the Plate and Answers Lipton's Questionnaire (Is that a long title? I'll work on it.)

Posted by Billy Christopher Maupin

So...once upon a time...wait...Into the Woods just closed (that was the first line of the show)...umm...Seems to me this old arbor has maybe the first line of Carson McCullers' beautiful play, The Member of the Wedding, also isn't the best way to start this post, even though this post bears a strong connection to Barksdale's upcoming production of said play in our very exciting Signature Season at Willow Lawn.

So, scratch all that, I'm just gonna jump right in: Marcel Proust used to do this questionnaire thing that inspired Bernard Pivot, who among other things was a French talk show host, he himself being French as well, not just the talk the end of his show, Bouillon de Culture(1990-2001), he would ask all of his guests a set of questions. James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor's Studio, was inspired by this and decided to adapt it (just slightly) to end all of his shows. (Inside the Actor's Studio airs on Sundays at 8 pm, I believe, and is often incredibly interesting. You can also find a lot of the episodes with some really great stars-Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Teri Hatcher, the cast of Will & Grace-on YouTube...oh how I love YouTube.)

But what I thought would be way cool would be to put those same questions to some our Richmond artists and have a sort of series of these posts. In the coming weeks, leading up to and during the run of The Member of the Wedding, you will get to read what these actors, designers, technicians, etc. had to say in response the questionnaire. Today...I'm getting goosebumps, I'm so excited...we have director Scott Wichmann's responses to the Bernard-Pivot-Slightly-Adapted-for-Inside-the-Actor's-Studio- Questionnaire (I keep spelling questionnaire wrong...oh, how I also love spell check- which it is now telling me is two words).

(Oh, wait, before the fun begins, I suppose we should note that all comments and opinions expressed in these responses are the sole opinion of the interviewee and do not represent the opinions of Barksdale Theatre or its affiliates, blah blah blah:)

And now the fun!:

1. What is your favorite word?
MUKLUKS!! The eskimo footwear made popular by the Sketch Comedy troupe 'Radio Free Vestibule' in their classic four-minute sketch 'Bulbous Bouffant' back in 1994. You can listen to the audio of 'Bulbous Bouffant' at it is HILARIOUS. Having fun with words and their goofy sounds always makes me happy.

2. What is your least favorite word?
NO. I think I've always been averse to that one. Especially when it is in answer to my query, "Honey, are there any more cookies left?"

3. What turns you on [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]?
I really get a charge out of being plugged into the creative process with other committed artists who are not afraid to take risks and fall on their faces. I think as I get older, and hopefully more emotionally mature, I'm learning that it is best to just put yourself out there (whether onstage or off) and let yourself respond honestly and fearlessly. That's where the good stuff always is, and that is how you learn to evolve as a human being.

4. What turns you off?
The perpetuation of willfull ignorance, the current info-tainment based political and cultural scene, Brussels sprouts, and the New York Yankees.

5. What sound or noise do you love?
My dog Elliot's hound-dog bay, the crack of a wooden bat, the lightsaber noise, the Godzilla roar, and the meditation bell. Oh, and the words "The Red Sox Win!"

6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Styrofoam. I absolutely cannot stand it. It's like my kryptonite. I hear it, and I'm like, "If.. just...can..reach...utility belt..."

7. What is your favorite curse word?
It isn't a curse word, per se, but my father used to say "You can just go pound sand" whenever he was really upset at someone for something. The futile image of someone 'Pounding sand' was just hilarious to me as a kid. Every now and then I'll use that one, keeping in mind that I hope one day I can turn out to be the kind of gentleman my father is.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would seriously love to go into politics one day. I'm very concerned about the state of the country right now, and I feel that to a large extent, the people in Washington don't really address the pressing concerns of everyday Americans. I continually find that people of all party affiliations deeply share that view. It is really sad that one has to be a quadrillionaire to run for President in this day and age. I could probably talk politics all day long with anyone, anywhere. I love it.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that harms animals or makes me have to juggle fire. Or chainsaws.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
MUKLUKS!!! Then I'd know we're cool with each other.

So come check out Scott's direction of Carson McCuller's The Member of the Wedding, September 21 through October 28 at Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn. I'm really excited about seeing this production for several reasons, not the least of which is that I think it's a marvelous, beautifully written play. Another being that once upon a time, I worked on Theatre IV's production of Ben Franklin and His Kite (Shout out to BFK'04!) that Scott wrote and directed, creating a really fantastic production. Oh, I should mention that to get tickets to The Member of the Wedding, you can call the box office at 282-2620 (or you can order them online, but my recommendation is that you call and speak with one of the fabulous box office staff)!

-- Billy Christopher Maupin
w/Scott Wichmann's illuminating responses


Anonymous said...

I love this post. Fun questions; great interview. But I dare anyone to parse the second half of the second paragraph.

Frank Creasy said...

Any chance of doing a "live" Lipton interview with Scott? Because, you see, I pretty much have Lipton's hairline (I could draw in a few comb-over hairs for the right effect) and then let the obsequious, oh-so-knowing Q & A begin! "Scranton, were a mere lad becoming a young man, when an eventful audition took place...what can you tell us about that Bernard PIVOT-al event?"

But on a more serious note, Scott...why would Superman be reaching for his UTILITY BELT? Come on, man, you know DC comics better than THAT!!!!

Break a leg with "Member of the Wedding", I will be there to check it out!