This week we had a brew and a sit down with Marcus Gorman to find out about our Fall Off-night, “Deers.”
You’re the creator of the enDEERing nostalgic romp “Deers”. What is the play about?
MG: Deers is four episodes of a live sitcom about an animal bar in the Cascades, starting with the show’s “pilot episode” from 1982 and concluding in 1993 with a very special series finale. Over those 11 years/seasons, these animals trade barbs, fall in love, and do their damnedest to keep their favorite drinking hole from going under. It’s funny, it’s wild, it’s got a lot of heart, and it’s more than a little weird.
Who are you? Have you worked with Annex before?
MG: I’m a writer and performer originally from the Bay Area, and I currently work at the Seattle International Film Festival as a film programmer and publications associate editor. I’m a company member at Annex and this is my fifth show here; I wrote Natural (2015) and performed in Gone Wild! (2014), Mad Scientist Cabaret (2015), and ACME (2017). Next year I’m collaborating with Jake Farley and L. Nicol Cabe on my sixth show here, a science fiction adventure called Peggy: The Plumber Who Saved the Galaxy. Away from my Annex family, I was the head writer for The Fantastic Misadventures of Twisty Shakes (2016), done in collaboration with The Libertinis and the performing ensemble, and I have a couple of published novels under my belt.
Which artist(s)–theatrical/visual/a uditory & alive/dead–has/have been the biggest influence on your process?
MG: I owe a great deal to the sitcom greats, including Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Norman Lear, and James L. Brooks. Brooks in particular is this play’s biggest influence; he co-created The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and my favorite sitcom, Taxi. The team he helped put together for Taxi went on to create Cheers. And, of course, Brooks is responsible for The Simpsons and The Critic. These shows are not only lose-your-breath funny and scripted tighter than a drum; each of them has a big, beating heart at their center and a strong sense of humanity. I like my laughs to dig deeper than a punchline.
What is your biggest challenge as a playwright?
I have a tendency to overwrite, so balancing 12 very distinct characters while keeping myself to a 22-minutes-per-episode runtime was designed to break me out of my habits.
Also, that I had to limit myself to only four episodes. I would happily write a full 22-episode season about these characters.
What has been the most rewarding?
MG: The performing ensemble for Deers nailed it within the first few minutes of our first read-through. With this group and the steady, supportive directorial hands of Tootsie Spangles and Quiqui Dominguez, they’ve gone above and beyond anything on the page ten times over. I also love how they’ve really sunk into these characters who had no predetermined genders, which was very important to me.
Thanks Marcus for your insights to this wild show! To learn more about Marcus’ work, visit his website: marcusgorman.com. To learn more about Deers, click here.
Written by Marcus Gorman
Directed by Tootsie Spangles and Quiqui Dominguez
Oct 24 – Nov 8, 2017
#AnnexDEERS #bearorbeer #livesitcom