Into Seattle’s always changing theater scene, enters a new group called Man Alone Productions (MAP). Under the artistic guidance of Brandon Ryan, they started this month with 3 Screams by Vincent Delaney.
Ryan, an accomplished actor who was nominated for a Gregory in 2009, previously founded and ran Absurd Reality Theatre. Ryan answered a few questions about his new venture earlier this month.
Who is the “Man Alone” and why?
Simply put, I am the man alone. Sounds kind of lone wolf in its perception, and the source for the name itself sounds equally absurd to that effect, but the meaning is quite different. Man Alone came to me based on an exchange between Sal Mineo and James Dean in a scene from Rebel Without A Cause. If you are familiar with the film then you know the premise to be about some lost adolescent youths who come together and create their own Utopian family/world. Free of fear and anger and all the other hardships that cloud their everyday existence. That spoke to me on numerous levels. After I had left Absurd Reality Theatre, I very much wanted to scale back down to the bare essentials of my craft and art.
Tell me a little about David Turnipseed and Peggy Gannon and their roles in MAP.
I once needed someone to move furniture between scenes. David Turnipseed happened to be dating our stage manger at the time, so I stole him for that. Since then he has done virtually everything that you could possibly do in theater. Board operator, script reader, dresser, props. Now he is in charge of my marketing for this new company. A happy little accident.
My managing director Peggy Gannon is one of the most beloved and talented artist that we have working in this city. I am completely blessed to have her on board and in my life.
How does MAP differ from Absurd Reality Theatre (ART)?
My focus with MAP is going to be more streamlined in its approach. I’m simply going to put on plays when I want to. Quality over quantity. 3 Screams, for example, has been a year-long process. From our first meeting with local playwright Vincent Delaney to stage readings, to works
How does MAP differ from ART?
ART was a learn-by-trial process. Never having produced before, I came along with pure moxie and bravado. I didn’t know what rules I was breaking at the time, simply because I didn’t know what the rules were. That is a boon in some aspects and a huge curse in others. Now with more experience, knowledge, and connections within the city I can maneuver my way much better through the process.
Why did you pick 3 Screams for your first show?
3 Screams is a dark, dynamic, and hilarious play centered on a contemporary theft of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” Thematically the idea of creation through destruction, the concept of misinterpreting Art to such an extent that it rules and possibly destroys your life fascinates me. It felt like the perfect piece to start my new company off with.
Are you going to be presenting a lot of local playwrights through MAP?
We have a bevy of incredibly talented writers in this city. Ranging from Vincent Delaney, Paul Mullin, John Longenbaugh, Tim Sanders, Celene Ramadan, and many others. Voices that should be heard. Plus the prospect of working closely with the writers themselves is incredibly exciting and rewarding. My interest in 3 Screams renewed Vincent’s passion for it. After not having looked at the play himself for about three years, he was able to come at it with fresh eyes and really shape the tone of the story better.
In a city filled with theater companies, what will make your group stand out?
I’m sure that every company started with a sense of excitement in which you think you can revolutionize theater at its core. Really do something of such magnificence that the whole world will take notice. I’m no different. We have a particular voice, and are not bound by any particular guidelines, and don’t have to answer to anyone except to the core three of us. Myself, Peggy, and David. We can take time with the cultivation of a piece or project, and present it when it is ready to be shared with the world. The luxury of that is invigorating and will help us put out work of quality and importance.
3 Screams continues at Theatre Off Jackson through February 26. For more information, visit MAP’s website.