Drinking in America at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Neil Kuefler in Drinking in America. Photo credit: Brianne Jang- BB collective

Neil Kuefler in Drinking in America. Photo credit: Brianne Jang- BB collective

Drinking in America by Eric Bogosian
August 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, 21 at Venue #2: The Backstage Theatre
More information: grindstonetheatre.ca

An interview with Brooklyn Ritchie.

Describe your show in five words. 

Addicts striving to be special.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

A series of addicts, strung-out on everything from psychedelics to sex, stumble towards the American Dream.  The craving to be special is at the forefront of this satire of the land of the free and home of the brave.

Why did you want to bring Drinking in America to Edmonton?

The show is essentially a satire of the West but it specifically looks at American culture.  Producing it in Canada gives us a great opportunity to act as an outsider looking in – sort of like we’re looking in at the US presidential campaigns right now.  If we were producing this in the States, I’d say we’d need to be a little bit more restrained but, in Edmonton, we’re not holding back.

Drinking in America features one actor playing a gamut of characters. Why does this format work so well?

It works really well technically because it keeps the show rolling: Neil Kuefler just moves seamlessly from one character to the next – we don’t break up the flow with entrances and exits.  Beyond that, it makes sense for Neil to play all ten characters on his own because he’s essentially playing one character: he’s playing you.  He’s looking to reveal your own addictions and dreams.

Drinking in America debuted in 1986 – what makes it still relevant in 2016?

This show was indeed created in the mid-80’s, so it’s pre-Trayvon Martin, pre-Internet porn, and pre-September 11th.  However, at the very forefront of Bogosian’s original play is racism, crippling addiction, and fear of terrorism.  In the context of Drinking in America, I’d say that “relevant” is a euphemism for “nothing has changed.”  We’re looking to ask, “Why not?”

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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