TALK THROUGH IT ◊ EPISODE SEVEN
STUART MELTZER AND GREGG WEINER SIT DOWN TO DISCUSS OUR ONE MAN SHOW EVERY BRILLIANT THING. THE NEXT COUPLE EPISODES WILL BE CONTINUATIONS OF GREGG’S DISCOVERY AS WE EXPLORE PERFORMANCES OF THIS PRODUCTION.
Stuart: Hi, Gregg Weiner
Gregg: Hello, Stuart Meltzer
Stuart: How’re are you?
Stuart: I know you’re tired. We’re ending our second week of rehearsal for Every Brilliant Thing.
Gregg: Yes, by Duncan Macmillen and Jonny Donahoe.
Stuart: How do you feel? You’re doing a one-man show!
Stuart: And it’s a one-man show that requires a skill set of a) having a lot of lines memorized, but also having a skillset of b) being able to improvise a lot.
Stuart: Which is an additional feat that happens in this one man show.
Gregg: I love the improv, I can’t wait for the moments where I’m doing improv because some of my favorite moments in a rehearsed script that have no improve are the gaphs, or someone drops a prop, or something happens that jolts an actor that may or may not be a robot through a play to shake them out of a rhythm or a constant line reading that’s the same over and over again and it makes you be really in the moment, even more so than by rote spewing out words—not that I do that, I try not to do that, I try to be as in the moment I can with the lines I’m given, but with this—I can’t wait. I love it! And I love not knowing what’s going to come out of audience members’ mouths.
Stuart: So for people who don’t know this play because it’s relatively new: It’s a play that has a lot of interaction with the audience.
Stuart: Sometimes a member of the audience will actually do a scene with you!
Gregg: yeah, a scene that’s guided by me, and by the play within the framework which is one of the brilliant things about Every Brilliant Thing—the structure of it and how the audience interaction doesn’t put that kind of on-the-spot pressure onto the audience member. I’m going to be holding their hand through these moments and guiding them and sculpting the scene to play so it plays the way it’s supposed to. So in that way it’s—
Stuart: Smartly structured.
Gregg: Yes! And it’s not something that audience members should be afraid of.
Stuart: And every audience is different, and every person is different, and every city is different. So our community of Miami is going to be vastly different than the community in London or New York, so we’re going to see what those challenges are.
Gregg: We sure are!
Stuart: And certainly it’s going to be a joyful experience regardless.
Gregg: Absolutely! The subject matter (of depression) is something that I don’t necessarily want to talk about because it is going to be joyful because we’re all going to be laughing together. And some of my most amazing memorable experiences in my life have been at say a concert, and that moment where the entire 60,000 are singing a lyric together. There’s no feeling like that. And I think that’s part of my addition to comedy and theatre is having everybody laugh together. I know it sounds lofty but it’s true!
Stuart: It sounds fantastic!
Gregg: it IS fantastic! My girlfriend says I talk about laughter a lot, because I did an interview for the radio and they asked me what I like and I wrote down ‘laughter’ for like five of the answers.
Stuart: You love laughing
Gregg: yeah! It’s how you get through life, you know. My last name is Weiner for god sakes, I‘ve been living with laughter every time I hear my last name.
Stuart: and I’ve known you since 1993, we’ve known each other since 1993.
Stuart: What is that like 30, 26 years?
Gregg: 25 years.
Stuart: 25 years?
Gregg: I’m really good at math. 26 years.
Stuart: 26 years. So I was right originally.
Gregg: 25 and a half years.
Stuart: 25 and a half? So I was wrong…not really a half.
Stuart: well, yeah okay a half!
Gregg: Aha! So I’m right and you’re wrong!
Stuart: So we’re having this discussion at the end of our second week, but this is going to come out on opening night, so what’s your expectation.
Gregg: I think that every show is going to be as joyful and as cathartic and as great as an experience as we expect it to be.
Stuart: Awesome. If you don’t mind, Gregg—
Gregg: yes, Stuart.
Stuart: What I want to do is keep checking back in every week.
Gregg: great. $200 per interview, that’s what I’m charging these days
Stuart: hmm, well, unfortunately, we go through talent riders on the first day of rehearsal…
Gregg: Oh! Great. I thought you were going to make a joke about the shoe budget!
Stuart: Alright! Thank you, Gregg, for speaking with me!
Gregg: Thank you, Stuart.