"Hot Steams" written by Zach Wegner. Interview by Maya Contreras.
Photos by David Noles www.davidnoles.com
The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America. It takes place annually in August over the course of two weeks on 20 stages spread across several Manhattan neighborhoods. FringeNYC (unlike other Fringe Festivals) uses a jury-based selection process to pick it’s 200 shows. One of those shows is “Hot Steams” written by playwright Zach Wegner.
Maya Contreras: What is the name of your show?
Zach Wegner: Hot Steams.
MC: What is it about?
ZW: A guy wakes up after three years in solitary confinement to find a drunken man dressed as Santa Claus thrown into the cell. The drunk’s suspicious amnesia and the mental instability of the first dweller bring out a sort of existential journey that includes a very nasty law enforcer.
MC: What made you want to write about this particular subject?
ZW: The image of a desolate cell and a quote from To Kill A Mockingbird - about lonely souls who can’t get to Heaven - were bouncing around in my head and it just began to pour out on the page from there.
MC: What was the biggest hurdle for you writing this piece?
ZW: Deciding what to trash and what to hold on to.
MC: What did you enjoy most about the process of writing it?
ZW: The moment I saw a scene play out, in our original mounting, exactly as I’d written it. The actors transcended my expectations (Braeson Herold and Timothy Wienert). The weird ecstatic joy this brought has been unmatched.
MC: What does it mean to you to be a part of the New York Fringe Festival?
ZW: A Summer tradition that I’ve always loved but never directly participated in. Conceptually it’s an artistic asset unlike so many being there’s this invisible cheerleader of sorts chanting “there are no rules”. Most importantly, it means more people will get to share this ride.
MC: Where can we learn more about you and your show (e.g. website, twitter)?
ZW: Website: cellardoortheater.com Twitter: @nyccellardoor
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A Good Read.
What is your greatest fear?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
On what occasion do you lie?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
A few missing teeth.
Which living person do you most despise?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“That” and “I mean…”
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
A live stage.
When and where were you happiest?
Which talent would you most like to have?
The money making one.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting this far.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A big shark.
Where would you most like to live?
A Louisiana bayou.
What is your most treasured possession?
The ability to read.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
What do you most value in your friends?
Cognition and enthusiasm.
What is your favorite occupation?
Who is your hero of fiction?
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents. Jack Nicholson.
What are your favorite names?
Tuzenbach and Gilgamesh.
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
Not taking that soap opera.
How would you like to die?
Quick, easy and loud.
What is your motto?
“He not busy being born is busy dying.”
Check out “Hot Steams” at FringeNYC in August 2014.
Read more interviews by Maya Contreras
on dirtydurty.com and “maya’s blog” on
thebloodlineofshadrickgrace.com. Thank you.