Dallas — Continuing our FIT coverage for the second week, TheaterJones speaks with Van Quattro, playwright and director of Tommy Cain. L.I.P. Service produces Quattro’s world premiere, starring Zachary Leyva. Quattro has a long career in film and television, and has worked continuously in Dallas as an actor, playwright, and director. Tommy Cain marks Quattro’s FIT debut.
TheaterJones: Where did the idea for Tommy Cain originate? Is it based on real events or a mixture of your imagination?
Van Quattro: Tommy Cain the play came from a short story I wrote. It's was based on people who have no real experience with love but try the only way they are capable of finding and expressing it. It is a biographical story mixed in with fantasy elements. While the events in the show are important for me writing it, it was just as important to relate the depth of the feeling of being an abused child in a situation is similar to Tommy Cain.
Why was it a good fit for FIT?
FIT is a longstanding festival with a great reputation so I was thrilled to be accepted. I have never worked at the FIT Festival before, I'm very excited to be here because of the great following it has. And I'm anxious to see how this piece plays.
How has the experience been working as the playwright and director of this piece?
Being both playwright and director certainly has its advantages. I know the piece inside and out, and I also have the freedom to explore and alter the material to be able to find deeper and more subtle meaning.
Have you ever worked with Zachary Leyva previously? What challenges do you face when directing a solo play?
I have worked with Zach on this play for a year on and off. He is a courageous and instinctual actor. I was very lucky to find him and explore this material with him.
The biggest challenge of directing a solo piece is physical movement, not overdoing it and trusting the emotional life to create motion. The question is, will the emotional life be strong enough to support stillness especially when the actor wants to move? In a show with more characters, there's plenty of movement on stage to satisfy the audience’s desire to see action. Whereas, in a piece like this, the storytelling element is very important.
» Tommy Cain opens in the 8 p.m. performance block on Saturday, July 22, preceded by Fiddler's Cave from Dustin Curry and Friends.
Tommy Cain is performed in the following blocks:
- 8 p.m. Saturday, July 22
- 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23
- 8 p.m. Friday, July 28
- 2 p.m. Saturday, July 29
- 5 p.m. Sunday, July 30
- 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5
See more info about the 2017 Festival of Independent Theatres schedule here.