It may not be what you think. So before we launch into Allison Hohman's interview with playwright, Hope Weiner, author of the play, The Cockroach of Broadway, which opens Sunday, December 14th at the Rogue Theatre Festival, let's explore the story... as described by the playwright:
"Arguably, if one wanted to make law school fun one could dedicate the full three years to studying Harvey Weinstein's recent fall from grace and come out with an amazing understanding of the current American legal system. Given that so much of the law is determined by "community standards" his case really asks us to deep dive into what our standards are. Furthermore we are also asked to deep dive into our belief in the potential for rehabilitation. As for the title, well Jesse Green made me laugh in 2018 when he reviewed the Donna Summer Musical but at the time I felt that even more so than the scourge of jukebox musicals, this title belonged to Harvey Weinstein. So at last musings on Mr. Weinstein and other men of questionable repute."
Allison Hohman: Where did you get the inspiration for writing your piece? Hope Weiner: The piece was inspired in part from the Jesse Green Review of the Donna Summer Musical where he described Jukebox musicals as the Cockroach of Broadway and then the downfall/scrutiny of so many power brokers including Harvey Weinstein.
Allison Hohman: What is your writing process? When inspiration strikes? One hour a day? Hope Weiner: Absolutely when inspiration strikes. It is an opportunity to explore the bigger philosophical issues in a very skewed way.
Allison Hohman: How did you first get involved with theater and becoming a playwright? Hope Weiner: I started off dancing and then ultimately moved into theatre. To be honest I was tortured and ridiculed throughout school - I was constantly being told I was stupid - funnily enough the first time I was told I was something other than stupid was at a playwriting course at the O’Neill Center in Waterford Ct.
Allison Hohman: What do you love about this piece and what will others love about it? Hope Weiner: The piece is definitely a think piece. The purpose is to really invite people to take a step back and evaluate situations for themselves. It is an invitation to bring back reason.
Allison Hohman: How important do you think it is for theatre festivals to offer opportunities for new or up and coming playwrights? Hope Weiner: Absolutely important. Theatre has the potential to become the intellectual farmer’s market. While other mediums become more geared towards the mass market, theatre’s advantage ultimately will come from moving away from focusing on Broadway and/or established regional theatres and cultivating local voices and perspectives.
Allison Hohman: Have you participated in theater festivals before? What was that experience like? What has your experience with Rogue Theater Festival been? Hope Weiner: Other festivals were fun because we had the advantage of being live! They are silly and messy and filled with optimism. This experience with Rogue has reminded me of the spirit of optimism.
Allison Hohman: How has the rehearsal and performance process differed now in Covid times vs. regular times? Hope Weiner: Way more relaxed and forgiving!
Allison Hohman: If you weren’t a playwright, what would you be doing? Hope Weiner: Maybe working more with animal shelters.
Allison Hohman: Any advice for aspiring playwrights? Hope Weiner: Just have fun.
Allison Hohman: What’s up next for you? Hope Weiner: Applying for jobs with Amazon and UPS!
Playing Sunday, December 14th at