Counter-Productions Theatre Company will be presenting the world premiere of Kevin Broccoli’s newest play, The Married Name, running March 15-24 at the AS220 Black Box Theatre, 95 Empire, PVD. Directed by Victoria Ezikovich, the production marks the acting group’s penultimate production of this, its final season.
Playwright Broccoli describes The Married Name as a “knock-down, sophisticated Battle Royale about friendship and modern marriage with an explosive ending that’ll have everybody talking.”
When I asked if the “Battle Royale” he is referencing was bloody, like in the video game Fortnite or the Japanese film, he explained that it was actually a term he’d been finding himself using a lot lately to describe theater.
“Especially when it comes to super talented actors pairing off against each other,” Broccoli explains. “I feel like there was a time where plays were really about two characters from opposing points of view squaring off against each other. It all had this great feeling of like a boxing match and I think for whatever reason, people really aren’t writing those sorts of plays anymore.”
Except for Broccoli, of course, who has made quite the name for himself with his acerbic wit and prolific writing output. “I’m so excited to be a part of the final Counter-Productions season,” says Broccoli, “especially with this particular play that I wrote with their company in mind. CPTC has always been the best place to go in Rhode Island for theater that goes right to the edge in terms of risk and daring while still offering downtown audiences polished acting and thoughtful productions.”
The play revolves around a soon-to-be-married couple, Dan (Adam Preston) and Rex (Justin Pimental) at a dysfunctional dinner party with their best friends Al (Ryan Leverone) and Ethan (Luis Minaya).
Stealing inspiration from James Lipton’s infamous “10 questions” posed at the end of every Inside the Actor’s Studio interview — and actually stolen from Bernard Pivot, who originally stole it from Marcel Proust — I’ve taken the liberty of creating my own ten roundtable questions for the cast of The Married Name.
1) What would people say is your trademark?
Adam Preston: I’m fortunate to say I often receive compliments on my comedic timing. I am also a deaf actor, and whenever possible, I like to incorporate sign language into whatever project I’m doing. For example, I performed with Kevin Broccoli in Marshall at Epic Theatre and my character had an 11-page monologue. I delivered that monster of a monologue with simcom, short for simultaneous communication, which means speaking and signing at the same time. That was a pretty exhilarating experience to be able to nail the lines and the signs smoothly. Musicals are an excellent platform for sign language as well.
Justin Pimental: My high-pitched, squealing, near Fraggle-like voice.
Ryan Leverone: Awful handwriting.
Luis Minaya: The smiling man.
Kevin Broccoli: Probably getting in trouble.
2) What phrase do you want to just go away?
Adam: “How do you memorize your lines?” Enough said.
Justin: “Fair and balanced.”
Ryan: “The Mondays;” I just had a weekend too, ya’ big dumdum.
Luis: “Let’s just give up.”
3) What is your most guilty pleasure?
Adam: My guiltiest pleasure would have to be the Tinkerbell movies on Netflix. I’ve seen every one. The pirate one is my favorite.
Justin: Marathons of “Bar Rescue” on Paramount. The man heals bars…and hearts…
Ryan: The music of Sean Paul.
Luis: Cardi B songs.
Kevin: Competitive cooking shows
4) What is your secret talent?
Adam: I’m a cyborg with bionic hearing.
Justin: Consistently missing the coaster resting directly next to my drink.
Ryan: I give great back rubs.
Luis: I’m good at video games.
Kevin: My Mickey Mouse impersonation, but it’s not really a secret because I do it constantly.
5) When you were a kid, what did you want to be in “when you grew up”?
Adam: Growing up, I wanted to be a successful actor. So, I’m definitely living the dream!
Justin: Rock Star.
Ryan: Poker player; the grind ain’t worth it, kids.
Luis: When I was a kid I wanted to be in telenovelas – Spanish soap operas – when I grew up.
Kevin: A zookeeper — still do.
6) If you could give yourself any other name, what would it be?
Adam: THE COOLEST UNCLE EVER! My niece and nephew are the coolest niece and nephew ever, so it just makes sense.
Justin: Sir Michael Caine.
Ryan: Leveroni, I’d like my name to be spelled how it is pronounced.
Kevin: I’d love to be a “Shane,” but I don’t know if I could pull it off.
7) You finally appear on the front page of The New York Times. What does the headline read?
Adam: Deaf Writer Wins Emmy for Hit Series
Justin: Man Commandeers Printing Press
Ryan: I Mean, He Just Looks Like He Did Something Stupid, Right?
Luis: New Star or Disaster? We’ll See.
Kevin: Guess Who’s to Blame? This Guy
8) How would you all describe Kevin Broccoli’s writing style?
Adam: First, any script by Kevin Broccoli is a fantastic work of art. Second, he is called a “Fearless Leader” for a reason: Because his works bring uncomfortable truths front and center where the audience can’t help but be moved in some way. However uncomfortable, it’s also presented in a way that everyone understands and relates to. As an actor, those kinds of challenges are thrilling, The Married Name is no exception. For this show in particular, the writing style is very versatile. It has minimal stage directions, so it really leaves a lot of room for the actors and director to play with.
Justin: Frantic, acerbic and witty
Luis: Relatable, dark, funny and deep.
9) What was the most challenging part of this whole rehearsal process for you as an actor?
Adam: Not breaking character when someone does a punch line. These guys are seriously great! I always want to laugh!
Justin: Shaving my beard. It was really starting to grow on me.
Luis: Since English is my second language, it would be learning lines and pronunciation.
Ryan: Picking up cues; the play is at its best when it increases in pace.
10) How would you describe your character in this play in one word?
Counter-Productions Theatre Company ‘s production of The Married Name written by Kevin Broccoli, directed by Victoria Ezikovich runs March 15-24, 2019 with Adam Preston, Justin Pimental, Ryan Leverone and Luis Minaya at AS220 Black Box Theatre, 95 Empire St, PVD. More information online at cptcri.com.