(photo - cropped - by Brandon Gaukel)
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
Playwright Anton Lipovetsky is a writer, composer and actor. Most recently, he performed at Bard on the Beach in Measure for Measure and Elizabeth Rex and composed/sound designed Midsummer Night's Dream at Studio 58, where he is a graduate. Other credits as composer include The Park (Studio 58), FLOP! (Delinquent Theatre) and Broken Sex Doll (Virtual Stage) which earned him the 2013 Jessie Award for Outstanding Composition. He is the recipient of the 2011 Mayor's Arts Award for Emerging Theatre Artist and the 2012 Jessie for Most Promising Newcomer. This winter, he can be seen in Carousel Theatre's Seussical as The Cat in the Hat.
CHARPO: First, tell our readers about your personal journey to this production and, while we’re at it, how much you are participating in the show (and whether you’ve been present in productions of your pieces before).
LIPOVETSKY: It's been two years since Solo Collective commissioned me and my writing partner / friend Ben Elliott to write a musical. We went through tons of different ideas—a farm, an ice winery, a mad scientist's mansion, a book club... Nothing seemed to stick... It was our first time being commissioned from scratch and I think the amount of choice was intimidating... We didn't know what we wanted to write about, or “say.” After we went separate ways over this project (Ben's on tour now rocking it in Chelsea Hotel) I began exploring the hipster-coffee-shop-world further and uncovered a theme I was really interested in-- identity. Where does it come from? How do you define yourself...and is that even possible? With dramaturg Aaron Bushkwoski and Director Rachel Peake's guidance I began developing some characters that I've really fallen in love with. And so began the long process to get to this full musical (it's about 70 pages with 12 full musical numbers). I reached out to the talented writers I know and took as much advice from them as I could. Many times I questioned whether I was cut out for it and I faced writer's block constantly--I'm so new to writing and I feel like I'm constantly learning things, basic things, through trial and error, and the trials and the errors added up into something of which I'm quite proud. Always trying to push myself. Now, I'm ready to enjoy the process and watch others bring their talent to it, bring it to life. Usually on a musical that I compose for I am also musical directing the actors, but this time I have Mishelle Cuttler's great vision and guidance—I feel lucky to have her perspective and participate simply as the writer. In rehearsal I'm observing, making changes wherever I can to tighten the script and score. Soon I'll need to get out of everyone's way completely, give them the space they need to make the show their own.