Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Origin Story

Written by William DeMeritt & Elia Monte-Brown
Directed by Anne Haney
Produced by Old Sound Room

Nominations: William DeMeritt & Elia Monte-Brown for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script; William DeMeritt for Outstanding Solo Performance

Photo by Mizuki Iwase

About the Company: Old Sound Room is a performance ensemble that builds new work. They endeavor for their work to spark thought and inspire action. They honor the past in order to reach the present and strive to remind audiences that they are not alone by celebrating shared existence with courageous abandon.

About the Production: Origin Story is an expansive theatrical memoir that explores how we incorporate loss and weave the seemingly discordant elements of life into a harmonious glow.  This one-man show tours us through space and time, painting a self-portrait through the lens of the motley crew who shaped the performer into the man he is today.


What attracted you to this project?

William: My mother's death was the genesis of the show.
Elia: I was hosting a summer of table reads of my friends’ newest work. "Bring the thing that you're scared to share. Maybe you're not even sure if it's a play or not." Bill answered that call and brought pages of monologues and asked actors to read the voices. My response was immediate. This is a solo show and I want to help bring it to life. It was a NY story, we're both New Yorkers. It was a story of living between two racial identities, which is an experience I also shared. It's about loss and about immense hope. I wanted to help bring this story to life.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

William: I loved the collaboration with my co-writer and my director.

Elia: During our first workshop preview, I sat in the back of the audience and was memorized by people's responses. It seemed like everyone connected to this piece that had seemed so deeply personal to Bill and I.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

William: Confronting the deep pain some of these memories held was incredibly challenging for me. Working on this piece forced me to think about the many losses I've suffered in my life in a more contemplative and detailed way than I ever had before.

Elia: It's a one-man show and Bill does an amazing job transforming into the different characters. Weaving together one story, told by multiple voices, each with their own perspective was an exciting challenge.

What was the strangest part of working on this production?

William: My collaborators certainly learned an awful lot about me in during this process. It was as if every one of the voices in my head was given a physical voice and was walking around the room.

What insight did you gain while working on this production?

William: I learned a great deal about myself. But most importantly I learned that if you tell a truthful story which really means something to you, no matter how personal and specific it is, people will find something relatable in it.

Elia: Bill and I are the odd couple. We are immensely trusting of each other and that affords us room to disagree and push back. This was our first time working together but it inspired us to continue as a writing team. Our next project is an episodic script that follows mixed race siblings dealing with the loss of their mother and a hunger for love and companionship in NYC. It's an ode to NY and to those of us who don't fit in a singular box.

What was it like working with Old Sound Room?

William: We all are very passionate about the goals, achievements, and aspirations of all the other members of the company.

Make sure to follow these artists on Twitter

    Old Sound Room - @oldsoundroom
    William DeMerrit - @demeritt
    Elia Monte-Brown - @Msbrownisanicon

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