BYRON LANE’S NEW PLAY AT CELEBRATION THEATRE
INTERVIEW: BYRON LANE
BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO
As part of its Summer of Celebration, Celebration Theatre presents the new play Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist by Byron Lane, directed by Tom DeTrinis. Byron Lane is an actor, writer, comedian and former personal assistant to Carrie Fisher with writing credits that include Last Will & Testicle (an award-winning web series) and the feature film comedy Herpes Boy. Now Lane bring Los Angeles his new play about a gay wallflower named Walt who after a devastating break-up places an ad on Craigslist for a new roommate. The unexpected happens, as other-worldly star Tilda Swinton shows up at his door and insists on moving in to “study” Walt for her next big movie role. In this Tin Pan L.A. exclusive Lane discusses the inspiration for this wacky play and what happens when Tilda Swinton answers this craigslist ad.
How would you describe TILDA SWINTON ANSWERS AN AD ON CRAIGSLIST in a nutshell?
It’s a play that we feel is probably just like the awesome actress: Hilarious, smart, charming, absurd, and thought-provoking all at the same time. It’s about a quiet gay guy going through a breakup, looking for a new roommate, when other-worldly actress Tilda Swinton answers his Craigslist ad, insists she move in and invasively dissect his life as part of a character study for her next big movie role, thereby triggering a host of lovely, healing, comedic chaos.
How did the idea for this show come about . . .inspiration?
My boyfriend and I adopted a cute little rescue dog who is shockingly blonde, very beautiful, and super quirky, so we named her after Tilda Swinton, of course. Living with my little Tilda, I wondered what life would be like if I lived with the real Tilda Swinton—and I imagined it would be amazing and adventurous and absurd and suddenly I had an idea for a play.
Why tell this story?
To maybe save you. Definitely to save me. I hope this story is a life preserver for the times we hate ourselves and need a fun reminder that we’re just humans and we’re each an important part of a big, wide, crazy, mysterious world. Maybe not everyone needs to hear that message, but I sure need a reminder now and then about the importance of embracing acceptance, finding strength in being different, and at all costs, having a voice in how you live your life. And that’s what’s at the center of this play.
How did you find your cast and director? Did you have any say in the matter?
I honestly feel like the luckiest guy in the world with my castmates and director! With Tom Lenk, Jayne Entwistle, Mark Jude Sullivan, and director Tom DeTrinis, I’m working with the absolute best people on the planet and everything came together with such ease—like this whole thing was meant to be. I was friends with everyone before casting and when the script seemed ready I reached out and everyone was available and excited to do it! My goal for this play was to have fun, and as I look around at the people I’m working with, it’s a dream team, a dream come true—and a hilarious dream at that, because these artists are FUNNNNNY! You’ll see!
How has the director Tom DeTrinis helped you shape this show?
Director Tom DeTrinis is bringing the pages to life in a way I could never have imagined. Honestly. He brings so much insight and experience from his perspectives as an accomplished actor and producer. He sees everything from a billion brilliant angles. He uses lights, props, costumes, actors, and every other tool imaginable to make this show feel alive and electric and the results are astounding and delightfully collaborative and I can’t wait for you to see it!
Any final thoughts about the show you’d like to share?
In our play, Tilda muses at one point that the world has lost a bit of magic and wonder. Maybe that’s true. Sometimes the news is shitty. Sometimes Hollywood’s TV shows and films don’t exactly feel inspired. But I gotta tell ya—the place where I see the most passion and creativity and originality is on theatre stages scattered across LA, in little black boxes and in the basements or back rooms of restaurants and cafes. This town is full of artists who are making their own work, making their own mark, and doing it with little fanfare and lots of grit. And I’m so, so excited that I have a hilarious little play that’s in the mix with them. And I hope you’ll support this underdog production and others because in these tiny theatres, you’ll find people who are loving, LOVING what they do, and lucky audiences who are loving it, too.
TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION:
Thursdays, August 10, 17, 24 and 31
8:00pm at Celebration Theatre @ The Lex
6760 Lexington Ave, Hollywood
Tickets can be purchased for $20 at the Celebration Theatre website, www.celebrationtheatre.com.