Carlsbad resident, Aimee Greenberg‘s new play, American Carnage: A Love Story, is set to open at City Heights Performance Annex on November 10th. The play, which Greenberg also directs, is an “unlikely love story – part sci-fi and part thriller” that “pulls back the curtain on a future where high technology manifests organically within humans and manufactured beings.”
Janene Shepherd interviews Greenberg about the show, actors and San Diego audiences.
You’ve written a new play called AMERICAN CARNAGE: A LOVE STORY – is that not a complete dichotomy? Is there a connection to current events in your new play?
Aimee Greenberg: Yes, the play is inspired, in part, by real time events in the circus of last year’s election cycle. I like to juxtapose opposites in my work.
You’re casting actors to play humans, robots, hybrids, and an ethereal presence or two – are there different acting skills or abilities that you look for when casting?
Aimee Greenberg: I look for the actor who can live comfortably in the “uncanny valley,” a most unusual space where the actor walks a fine line between real and artificial; human and man-made.
Describe some differences between an actor portraying a human vs playing a being with artificial intelligence.
Aimee Greenberg: The actor playing a being with artificial intelligence uses their voice and body in more precise and modulated ways. They have technology within that gives them access to shape-shifting and uber-human capabilities. They are walking contradictions, as in the Museum Director, a holographic character that is “hollow, but has gravitas.” The actors playing humans are divided into vestiges of the past (our present) and those living in the future dystopia, taking advantage of scientific “enhancements.”
Actors in AMERICAN CARNAGE: A LOVE STORY are in different worlds on the same stage and sometimes move between worlds – how will you delineate these different worlds and will the characters change themselves physically if, and when they cross into another sphere?
Aimee Greenberg: The magic of set, lights and projections work together to orchestrate the different worlds. No, the actors do not change themselves; the environment changes them, and yet the environment is only a part of the transformation process. Love trumps all!
What is the excitement and challenge of working in a new venue to fruitlessmoon theatreworks, your production company – tell us a bit about the theatre and the neighborhood in San Diego.
Aimee Greenberg: City Heights Performance Annex is a hidden gem in a diverse, urban and evolving neighborhood. It reminds me of Off-Off Broadway of the 70’s and 80’s. It’s a fantastic venue for a play about changing landscapes in a futuristic setting.
Do you believe theatre is a good medium to comment on the political world, what about people who “just want to escape from all the problems out there” – what do you say to them?
Aimee Greenberg: In the words of two of my great acting teachers: Wynn Handman and Sandy Meisner: “Ballast yourself in reality, then take off.” Be educated and informed of the current geopolitical landscape. Theatre is as good an “in yo face” medium as any other. But, I believe in the power of metaphor as opposed to ‘hit you over the head’ agit-prop political theatre.
How open are the audiences in San Diego to new and challenging avant-garde theatre – is there a niche for it there?
Aimee Greenberg: Probably not, but what the *&^ (%? Life is a gamble. It certainly is not the theatre du jour in San Diego. I have my theories about why not…craft beer, surf’s up, chill, sunny, tourism, military community, retirees. I believe in educating, not spoon-feeding audiences.
American Carnage: A Love Story runs from November 10-26. For tickets and more info: fruitlessmoon theatreworks