Dallas — Straight from Yonkers, Vincent Mraz offers his first full-length solo piece, The Escape Plan. This autobiographical piece aims to connect with anyone who has thought about running away or doing the impossible. It opens Thursday at the third annual Dallas Solo Fest.
How did you come up with the title and story of The Escape Plan?
I forget exactly when in the process of making this show the title came but it arrived when it became clear that what I was talking about a daydream of running away. While I talk about running away from the artist's life, I think it's true for everyone. Everyone probably has some kind of an escape plan, the plan of what they would go and do if they could ditch their current jobs or homes and live this crazy dream life they have in the back of their heads. The title was a natural fit from there.
What made you interested in solo performance?
I've only been performing solo work for about a year or so. I've done a few performances of works in progress but this is my first full-length solo performance piece. What draws me to it is probably the fear. And maybe some deep-seeded ego trip. I actually left performing for four or five years after high school. I did a few smaller shows but I really turned my attention to directing and writing. When I came back to performing I realized that part of me missed it, so solo performance allows me the chance to marry my writing with my performance.
How would you describe your style of theater?
Recently I finished the MFA theater program at Sarah Lawrence, where I was exposed to myriad artists and theatermakers which really opened up my understanding of what theater can be. I sometimes feel like a theater mutt but maybe that's just what every artist feels like. I started out reading Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill and now I gravitate towards the experimental writers and makers, people who are experimenting with form and style.
My style is usually based in autobiography but deeply couched in visual metaphor and poetry. Basically I'm talking about me but trying to expand that story out to a universal audience, trying to speak about my own humanity but allowing for others to join in on that conversation. It's experimental, it's sometimes formless, it's sometimes quiet and naturalistic, sometimes big and epic and expressionistic. My style is pastiche, it's a collage of images and sounds and words.
What are you developing in the future?
Well there's a project ruminating in my brain somewhere about the author Fernando Pessoa and his many personas/personalities. I'm interested in exploring how to use his story mixed with a study of lighting, I don't know why yet but that seems to be the right direction to go. I also have a new solo going called Somebodies Sister Denise which I've shown a little bit of up in NYC and I'm working on generating illustrations for a book comprised of letters I wrote over 100 days.
How do you think a Dallas audience will connect with this show? Have you been here before?
Well this is actually my first time stepping foot in the state of Texas! The piece is part autobiography, part biography of the Koch Brothers who I know have roots in Kansas and Texas. My hope is that people will meet this piece with an open mind and leave with questions, many more questions. I ask myself a lot of questions and reflect on the idea of leaving the mess behind and trying something new. My hope is that people will leave examining their own daydreams, thinking about living in the present tense, something I am always struggling to do.
If you had to describe your play in five words only, what would you say?
Come do the impossible, ok?
The Escape Plan is performed on the following days:
- 7:30pm | Thursday, June 9
- 10:30pm | Friday, June 10
- 3pm | Sunday, June 12
» Click here to see our listing for The Escape Plan
» To see a full schedule of shows, go here
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