HE ASKED FOR IT! INTERVIEW WITH WRITER ERIK PATTERSON
On Stage Jeremy Glazer [Henry] left and Andrew Keegan [Rigby]
HE ASKED FOR IT is a powerful and profound stage play written by Erik Patterson that challenges the audience to think. Yes, there is actually something going on in Tinseltown that wants you to think. Of course, the play also makes you laugh. And cry. And you may well recognize yourself in one or more of its wonderfully layered characters. The actors' performances are textured and riveting. As is the story itself, which is at its core a most disturbing and troubling cautionary tale. If you want to see something different, something that will get you and your friends debating its themes long after the lights goes down, then go see this play. Yes, you will get to see hot guys take off their clothes and you will watch what we think is the funniest gay sex scene ever on a legit stage, but you will also experience something so cathartic that you will be grateful you went to see this play. It is being held over by popular demand, and that does not surprise us.
+ He Asked For It Now Playing in Wet Hollywood
+ He Asked For It Official Site
Backstage before the play Joe Egender [Ted]
He Asked For It, is amazing, how did you come up with the idea?
All of my work is deeply personal. I'll get a kernal of an idea from something that happens in my life, and then a play will spring out of that idea. There were several little kernals that led to He Asked For It. I was doing a lot of dating, getting frustrated with guys I was meeting on the internet, and thinking that the world of internet dating was something I wanted to explore on the stage. That ended up being just a small part of what the finished product focuses on, but it's one of the first things I was thinking about. The "chat room" scene is one of the first scenes I wrote, based on some of those experiences. (But I assure you, on stage it's a whole lot funnier and sexier than it was in my real life.) Then I started dating this guy who I ended up modeling the character of Henry after, this really good guy who I fell really hard for, but things didn't work out, and we broke up. And it was a really emotional time, and the rest of the play kind of just came out of that. So I'd say the play is very autobiographical, while not being autobiographical at all, if that makes any sense. The emotions are true, the specific plot points are made up. And my life isn't nearly as sexy as the actors in this production. I think it's important to stress that because the universe needs to bring my life some more sexiness. So hello, universe? Bring it!
How did you feel the first time you saw the play on the stage?
I've been working on this play for about five years. I was in a writing group at the Mark Taper Forum and they did the first full read-through of the play during one of their writing retreats, and I remember being kind of terrified of hearing it, just not sure if it would work or not. After most of the readings, everyone would get up and grab a snack and socialize, but after we finished reading He Asked For It, everyone just sat there, processing. You know, not ready for bagels and cream cheese yet because they were still sitting with the play. And that's when I knew I was onto something, that this was a play that could really move and affect people. Then last year, the play had its first production at Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood, and it was amazing, people really responded well to the show. But I've gotta say, this new production at the Macha Theatre is one of those experiences where everything comes together in a kind of magical way, the actors, the designers, the crew. It's been a really special thing. It's like, this is the version of the play that's been living in my head for the last five years, and I feel lucky to be able to share it with people. And fortunately, because of the great response we've gotten from audiences, and the great reviews, and the attention we've gotten from blogs like OhLaLaMag, we get to extend the play through July 26th, so people still have a chance to check it out!
Carter MacIntyre [Neal]
What turns you on creatively?
Creatively, actors do it for me big time. Especially the actors I'm working with right now. All of them. I watch them onstage and I want to write a million more roles for each one of them because they're so good, and they make me want to keep tapping into that goodness.
If you were a reincarnation of someone or something what or who would it be?
I'd want to be reincarnated as Tracy Pollan, because then I'd be married to Michael J. Fox and all of my childhood fantasies would come true. I realize that's a really weird answer, but it's the first thing I thought of, and it's true.
What is your most treasure possession?
I'm trying not to be so attached to physical things. I hoard books like a crazy man, and I'm starting to get to the point where I feel like I can let some of them go. But I have this one old ratty copy of the book The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, that I've read about a dozen times, and I've loaned out to so many friends over the years, so the ripped binding and all of those creased pages have an extra emotional weight to them, and if my house was burning down, that book is the first thing I'd grab. And then my laptop. And my iphone. And the photos from the fridge. And my high school journals. And, okay, so I'm not really very good at getting emotionally un-attached to things, but I'm trying.
What is your favorite occupation?
I love writing and am so grateful to be able to make a living at it.
Where would you like to live?
I'm a native Southern Californian, and I love Los Angeles. I kind of think of He Asked For It as a little love letter to the city, in a way. Instead of just setting scenes in random locations, I specifically set them in restaurants and bars that I go to. I just wanted to capture some of the essence of this city. The only other place I'd rather live is London. I would move to London in a heartbeat.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Owen Meany. Lucy Ricardo. Marty McFly.
What is your next project?
I'm working on a movie for Universal right now, and finishing up a few spec screenplays. In the winter of 2010, Playwrights Arena is producing my play Sick, about a hypochondriac mother who has to get over her own issues when one of her loved ones faces a real illness. Oh, and I'm also currently adapting He Asked For It into a screenplay. The way my director Neil Weiss staged the play, and the way he incorporated imagery by our projection designer, Tom Ontiveros, it almost already feels like a movie, and I hope that's the next stage in the wonderful, twisty journey that I've been on with this play, so I'm hoping we can make that happen soon.
Jeremy Glazer [Henry]