In response to rumors that writer/director Eric Bland is actually the illegitimate son of French New Wave director Francois Truffaut, I say yes, yes he is. Whether he himself would say so is another story, but that is not a story I'm interested in. Meanwhile, his show, The Children of Truffaut, plays Sat 6/24, Fri 6/29 and Sat 6/30. Here are his answers to the freaking questions.
What exactly makes your show so damn pretentious anyway?
Our show is inspired by the oeuvre of Andrei Tarkovsky, Federico Fellini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Jean-Luc Godard, so, um…what was the question? …Yeah…
Name some obscure influences on your work – extra points for unpronounceability.
Our work is nourished by the three G’s – Grotowski, Godard, and Griffin, Peter.
To expound on one—from Godard we honor the frisson, the tension created between self-awareness and adherence to naturalism or to the true emotion of a story however fractured—scenes where a character speaks directly into the camera as if being prodded by an outside force, or, even better, scenes where a character is being prodded, provoked, almost interviewed by another character on-screen.
These Godardian dialogues, perversely Socratic (both question-packed and aiming at the examined life), speak to the issues and worries of the day while betraying a want, a need the interviewer (often male) so often has with respect to the interviewee (often female). The dynamic is at once artificial yet formless, man-on-the-street yet dramatic—a blurring of fact and fiction so organic the blur is irrelevant.
Boo. (pause) Yah.
The late Roland Barthes once wrote “For the theatre one needs long arms; it is better to have them too long than too short. An artiste with short arms can never, never make a fine gesture.” Explicate.
When did Roland pass? You’re serious?
Roland Barthes “Simpson” once saw a photograph of a family member and proceeded to write a smashing essay centered around love. Our show is about love.
But our show is also “about” theatre—what Ro-Ba was meditating on. It is “about theatre” not in terms of content but in terms of form. It has three dimensions: space, time, and character.
Simultaneously, text is extremely important to us, huge, if often indirect, in terms of conveying character and emotion. But gesture implies concern for the body below the chin as well, where one might find arms long enough for reaching.
In what ways do you plan on alienating your audience? Cite an intentionally opaque or confusing moment within your production.
We plan on not inviting our audience. Which should alienate them.
In case they do come, however, we presently have a video projection planned, described in the script as having “a Rothko-esque splotch of orange or dark blue.”
Wait, we cut that I think. Are you alienated yet?
Which other Pretentious Festival show will you declare as your sworn ideological enemy, and why?
Our sworn enemy is “Project 365.” We don’t understand why Susan Lori-Parks is doing this festival. Perhaps writing a play a day creates an image of pretension in some minds. I, however, can only see a lady smiling at me from a roofless red car on the cover of “American Theatre” magazine.
Update: We understand “Project 365” is no longer in the festival. We are sorry for our anger. It was sophomoric. We are now focusing our energy/jealously on “Macbeth Without Words.” Because the show has no words, they will not be able to say “Macbeth” in the theater, which would have thwarted all their efforts. So we must go on the offensive.
Please give us the gist of the acceptance speech you would use were you to win one of our Pretentious Awards.
Duncan Chalmers rocks. Stay clean, man, stay clean.