I have been producing theatre with
Michael Justen since 1996. In 1999, we continued on the same
path in NYC and things were going well for the first two years. But
after 2001 September 11th, we stopped making money and
times got tough and we were evicted from our apartment
we could’ve gone home, but we were determined to continue
achieving some goals.... we
couldn't get jobs, sometimes had to steal food and started questioning
how far we might go to survive. Basically questioning what we would do
for money, because working at certain bars we saw guys getting picked
up and other guys making offers we started seeing and hearing these stories and Michael felt
they needed to have a voice to be told.
He started collecting material from personal interviews and
documentaries, books and films etc...Fortunately we didn't have to go
through with anything [as the characters in the play] but we were
living in a small one room apartment and living the tough life. It was
definitely life changing and as the material was collected Michael started taking the
facts and turning them into characters.
Since then the script has gone through hundreds of changes. Even since last September when we produced at the Complex, the
script has almost been cut in half.
How has this ride been for you?
It has been a lot of ups and downs -
headaches and heartaches, but the project and me as a person wouldn't
be the same without the struggles. It sounds cliché but if it
don't kill you it makes you stronger. And Michael has been amazing in
bringing these stories to life.
Tell us about the character you are
I am portraying Andrew Stone, a kid
who has been in and out of foster care and has lived on the streets
for several years, following concert tours or living in squats and
just surviving through the hustle, not as a prostitute but selling or
stealing and hustling. He has gotten addicted to the life style and
the drugs and sometimes people can't escape or have no where to escape
to. "It sucks you
Sounds like a meaty character. Why
is this show such an important vehicle for you? In
reference to the Greenwich Group.
I think it gives an insight into
individuals' stories who live on the streets as opposed to
homelessness as a whole. It asks the audience to think a little
about the person before they are so quick to judge.
Awesome. Tell us about the Greenwich
The Greenwich Group was formerly
Curtain Call Productions outside of Boston and in NYC. When we arrived
last January, we joined up with Michelle Kaufer and began producing
here in LA. Same as before we are really focused on shocking edgy
material that has the ability to teach and maybe even make a
always put a modern twist on classic shows, but in this case are lucky
enough to be working on an original piece which is always the ideal...
So this is what you want to do with
your life? Producing. Acting.
I love being in front of an
audience, I just feel comfortable that way.....I love telling stories
and sometimes impacting people....And I want to be able to affect
society and hopefully make a change.....Producing is a love hate
relationship but being able to put together your own projects is much
better than waiting to be put in someone else's..... I am lucky that I
have had the experience and now the knowledge to continue working and
not having to wait.
Where do you see yourself in 5
Kitz : In five years, I hope to
working in film or on television, whether it is making people laugh or
think. I like it all....But I will always have theatre and that will
live in me forever....
I haven't found one person who's
done theater and escaped it yet. Haha. It sorta stays with you
Kitz : Hopefully
acting will enable me to try and explore other fields- human and
: What advice or words of
wisdom could you offer our readers or others here pursuing their
Hard work pays off.....not
necessarily financially but it is always rewarding inside....Nothing
comes easy- at least not for most of us but if you really go after
something the universe will respond- so take risks- you've got nothing
to lose. And
come see "THE PLAYGROUND" Haha
*smile* I do hope the readers do
check out the PLAYGROUND. Ian, thanks again for taking time out.
wish you all the best in your endeavors and hope the PLAYGROUND does
have impact on its audience as intended.
My pleasure, thank you for your help
- without all of the volunteers, projects like this one would not be
to Arts & Reviews Main Page
Rennie, staff writer and editor for Maestro Arts &
Reviews, is an actor and Los Angeles area playwright. Having
received great reviews for his plays, The Seven Lessons of
Life and Only
a Phone Call Away, he continues to write and act in Los
Angeles Theater, Television and Film.