Whether through The Renegade Company or 14th Street productions, Michael Durkin has brought Philly some of the most awesomely peculiar theater pieces of the last few years, from Moby-Dick in a bathtub to Kerouac by GPS. His piece for SoLow Fest 2016 is interdisciplinary genius: Call a number. Speak to aguy. Complete a task. Meet at a location. “FOR A GOOD TIME CALL is about getting lost, discovering new things and understanding our diverse communities.”
Mike gave Phindie the SoLow down (and the number) for this brilliantly conceived new work.
Mike Durkin: I was on a date the weekend the Pope was in town, after I told her about the performance work I do, she suggested “I do a performance piece where people call you up and you answer questions, and maybe it could be called, For A Good Time Call?” I responded, “that’s a stupid idea.”…Needless to say the date didn’t go so well ha ha. But after it living in my brain for a couple of months, I was intrigued by a piece where a phone call conversation could lead to meeting up. I am interested in creating unique, intimate interactions (performances?) between a performer and audience of one. All of this coupled with my interest in exploring the city and discovering universalities between very distinct neighborhoods of the city.
Phindie: Have you ever called a number written on a bathroom wall?
MD: I’ve never called a number, haha.
Phindie: Written a number?
MD: I’ve never written a number, but I have thought about writing an ex’s on the wall!.
Phindie: How do you envision FOR A GOOD TIME CALL working?
MD: Someone calls a number, a conversation about community happens over the phone, we agree to meet at a place, and we explore a distinct neighborhood.
Phindie: Are you scared no one will call you?
MD: No, ha ha! I will be putting stickers containing the number in bathrooms and on street corners. And to circumvent any unsavory encounters, I will be determining whether or not we meet up. If I find they are thinking this is something different than it is, then I will end the call. The phone number people call is not my actual cell phone number and will expire at the end of June.
Phindie: What do you like about SoLow Fest?
MD: I’m able to experiment and explore different audience experiences and what constitutes as performance, whether it’s creating a faux cheesesteak eating competition, writing poems in the park, or making a custom mixtape for someone (SOLOW 2017!). I’m also exciting to see other artists explore these ideas and creating work in living rooms, cemeteries, kitchens, and in a dark attic.
Phindie: What’s your favorite thing to do alone?
MD: I love watching the food network and cooking. It’s a good way to try out new recipes and experiment and see what comes about. Baking is like theater ha ha.
Phindie: Are you excited by any other shows in this year’s SoLow festival?
MD: I’m excited for Julius Ferraro’s Micromania and Sex Talk by Katherine Perry. I’m tethered to my phone for the week of SoLow so I can’t see too much!
Phindie: So, er, what’s your number?
Phindie: Thanks Mike. Expect a call.