Hannah Means-Shannon conducted a great, heartfelt roundtable interview about my third play, THE LAST BAR AT THE END OF THE WORLD, with me, Philip Cruise, Ed Miller & Anna Stefanic at Comicon.com
"Having written the play, I guess I was compelled to express my feelings about what it takes to make art for a living and being vulnerable during a toxic, post-truth era of public shame, outrage and “fake news.” I wanted to address what it means to be authentic, even when it could hurt loved ones. I wanted to discuss the concept of legacy and what obsession does to a heart and soul. And, what does death mean if you haven’t lived your life the way you wanted to? How many of us get the chance to live the way we want to? And, if you could course correct it, would you?"
"They say your entire life flashes before you in a near-death moment. I’ve always been afraid of facing that emotional ticker-tape of micro and macro milestones. I’m afraid to find out that all I actually cared about was a wooden sled. I don’t want to have to boil down my life into a mobius strip of hits and misses. I’d rather stoke it like a yule log fire. All the while knowing that it was the people that mattered the most.
How can you appreciate the people in your life until you have hindsight? Who were they? What did they mean to you? Does it take a break-up or a death bed to reflect and honor the people in your life? I think we inadvertently take time for granted. Time is so damned fleeting and you can never get it back.
I’m trying to do better by living in the moment, but I’ve had a tough time dealing with family and friends dying. It feels like an inhale that never exhales. So, you try to live well. A major part of living life well is having empathy for others. And, once you can imagine another person’s pain, you can start to understand your impact on others, and vice versa. Contrast and context is key. It’s important to forgive and to be truly thankful. And, love. It’s essential to give and receive love from the people you spend time with. If we’re all destined to die, then I want to be slowly euthanized by kindness and joy."
"Acting is the most important part of theater. My friend, actress Orlagh Cassidy was in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Public Theater in NYC in 2016, and they performed it as a mobile unit exploiting the virtues of minimalistic means. I think the props were a few movable boxes and a couple of chairs. Plus, gorgeous costumes. And, it was great. The mind fills in what is missing as long as the actors are there to anchor you and take you to those physical and emotional places."
"Just like how conveying comix is very different from conveying movies, the same goes for theater. I write plays very differently than how I write comix. Sure, they both employ text, but that’s about the only thing they share. And, I rely on the expertize of directors like Philip Cruise, and Ian W. Hill, and all the actors and designers to make theater magic. Were I to adapt my plays into graphic novels, I would draw a lot of what was being said and probably reduce some of the dialogue. In fact, theater is all dialogue where comix can be mute, if necessary."
"I hope audience members will think about what it might take to be happy rather than right. I know how important it is to be right. To do what’s right. But, people are puzzles and situations are complex. And context is everything. And, if we could just astral project like Doctor Strange and hover over our lives for a few seconds, once in awhile, the perspective might just provide insight and wisdom for a better life well lived—today."
You can read the entire interview here: http://www.comicon.com/2018/04/04/the-last-bar-at-the-end-of-the-world-roundtable-interview-with-dean-haspiel-philip-cruise-ed-miller-anna-stefanic/