Welcome to Philadelphia, "Night Vale"

By Jared Axelrod
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 26, 2014

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JC: The script that were touring is called “The Librarian.” And I won’t tell you any more than that, other than it’s a cool script, and I like it, and it’s been a lot of fun. We’ll have a couple of special guests at that show. We have a musical guest who opens the show, and then we have a full-length live episode, which is double the length of a recorded episode.

JF: “The Librarian” is the script that we took to the West Coast. It’s a script that we’ve been honing and re-writing as we go. I feel like, at this point, it’s one that works quite well. Pretty consistently, people seem to really enjoy it. I’m very excited to take it to 20-odd cities, or whatever.

Welcome To Night Vale seems to have a strong commitment to diversity. The narrator is a gay relationship; Jasika Nicole has a recurring role, and you have recently cast Dylan Marron to play Carlos, Cecil’s boyfriend, a role that was played by Jeffrey previously on the podcast. How important is diversity to Night Vale?

JC: A lot of the diversity is not necessarily conscious. Jasika was cast because she’s been a friend of mine for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to write for her because I think she’s awesome. When we did the Carlos thing, when we made that decision t not really recast, but to actually cast Carlos as an actor, it really came about because I’m not an actor. I like performing a lot, but in terms of that character, Carlos had grown beyond what I felt like I could give justice to. Joseph and I have both worked in theater long enough to know that any industry that casts actors regularly does not have awesome practice at casting people of color, either casting white people as people of color or casting a single person of color in an all-white cast as a lone representative of an entire group of people. And it’s not to say that we’re trying to be heroic or anything like that. It’s that we have the power to cast somebody, and we had Dylan, who we’re close friends with, we love, is extraordinarily handsome and has perfect hair just like Carlos—so we’re like “Why wouldn’t we cast this person?” It just didn’t make any sense not to, at that point. Not everyone in the world is a 38-year old white man from Texas, like me.

JF: I think neither Jeffrey nor I will lay claims to being amazing at this stuff, or that we’re trying to represent anything. It’s just, it’s what’s right to do. It makes sense to do. It’s what people should do. So if we can do it in our own small way, for our own show, that makes sense. I don’t think we can take credit for doing anything more than what everyone should sort of baseline do—which is write about the world as it is. We try as much as possible to represent the world as it actually is, which is that its full of all sorts of people who are not like us. And if you write just about one type of person, not only is that boring, not only does that deprive people of other points of view, it is also just false. It’s not what the world looks like. You should try to write about the world that’s there, because that’s the interesting one.

Mon., March 3, 7:30pm. $25. Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., 215.922.2599. TLAphilly.com

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