Rob Dames is an interesting person to talk to…If you get the chance (as I luckily did) to chat with him, he can entertain you with stories about his history in theatre, his writing background, and his experiences in writing for television (Benson), Hollywood. Originally from Missouri, his new play, NOWHERE MAN, will be featured at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival next month, where he is traveling back and forth from coast to coast, auditioning, casting, and working with New York-based Director, Ted Thompson, and a brand new cast on the production. As for the subject matter? It couldn’t be more timely. Read on.
LocalTheatreNY.com: What's the story behind the story of Nowhere Man? Where did the idea to write this play come from?
Rob Dames: All my plays are born of the same point of curiosity. I am fascinated by characters who have strong, unwavering beliefs and opinions. Especially when those attitudes are outside of my realm of understanding. In NOWHERE MAN, the character of Leon is such a person. Frustrated and angered by the way the world treats him and protective of his best friend, he has chosen to take action in a most heinous way – murder. The basis for this play started as I watched news reports on various ‘shooters’. I wanted to investigate that kind of person to find out how they justified this crime to themselves.
LocalTheatreNY.com: What sort of production or readings did you do before the play was accepted by BBTF? How much has it evolved?
Rob Dames: Let’s call it blind luck. This play has had no readings, workshops or anything except for the rewrites I did based on my own notes.
LocalTheatreNY.com: What are some of the challenges of producing the play so far away from home and what are the expectations in terms of what you'll see on stage?
Rob Dames: This was a serious concern of mine. How could I manage to get this play performance ready in NY when I live in LA? As a producer, I have always been a delegator. My theory is: find good people, agree on the work and let them do their thing. I was lucky enough to find the director, Ted Thompson. We talked, read, discussed and planned. Then Ted took over and made everything happen. He had a group of people he worked with so we brought them on board. My involvement from 3000 miles away has been one of decisions, conversations and trust. I will be coming to NYC for casting and first reading of the play with the cast. Then I will leave Ted in peace to start rehearsals and pop back into NYC a couple of times to see the progress.
LocalTheatreNY.com: Where do you see the play going after the BBTF? Where do you think a play like this could live?
Rob Dames: The first hope is that the play works and that audiences, agents, producers and publishers think it is a piece worth pursuing further. I would very much like to see the play find subsequent productions. It’s a piece that will work at the professional, community or university levels.
LocalTheatreNY.com: Tell us about your other work. What other plays have you written? Do you have a particular genre of form that you prefer in your writing?
Rob Dames: I spent about 30 years writing, directing and producing television series. But I come from the theatre and it is the theatre that seduced me in the beginning and like life, first loves burn forever in one’s heart. My first produced play was FROZEN STIFF a mystery/comedy/farce, in fact it was this play that got me ‘discovered’ by Hollywood. Even though I spent a long time in TV, I continued to write plays. My full-length play HAUNTINGS was a 2016 finalist for The Stanley Drama award. My full-length play VIRGINIA THROWS A WAKE was a 2017 finalist for The Reva Shiner Comedy Award. My full-length play, CLOSEST OF FRIENDS is currently on the New Play Exchange. Most recently, along with composer, Dan Foliart, we have completed our first musical, BACK IN THE GAME. A song from the play, Where Does Love Go to Die? Is included in a concert of songs from new musicals to be presented August 4 at the Brookfield Theatre in Connecticut. I am basically a comedy writer. Even the darkest of my plays, NOWHERE MAN, has a considerable amount of comedy… dark perhaps, but comedy/absurdity.
NOWHERE MAN can be seen at The Broadway Bound Theatre Festival beginning late August. The dates are Sunday, Thursday August 23rd 8:30pm, Saturday, August 25th 1:30pm, Saturday August 25th 5:00pm, and Sunday, August 26th 5:00pm.
The Story: Harvey and Leon are two of the forgotten people. And Harvey is dying. To ensure that his best friend is not forgotten, Leon hatches an assassination plot. But the unexpected arrival of young Nicky upsets everything. As she begins to unravel Leon's plan, she tries to convince Harvey to back out. But things become murky when she realizes Leon’s true intent.
The festival will take place at the Theater at The 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street (at 14th Street and 1st Avenue), New York, NY 10003 (Front desk is 646-395-4310). Tickets can be purchased by linking here: https://bit.ly/2uBjQHl
General Admission: $25 online / $30 at the door. Running Time: 80 minutes. No Intermission
**Please note this production contains adult content including violence. Recommended for ages 15 & older.*