Ten questions for David Guaspari!


As we continue through the run of performances for FRESH FISH 2.0, we’ll be interviewing our playwrights. David Guaspari is the author of RAT-TAT-TAT.

What first motivated you to write plays?

I was writing fiction and the dialogue often seemed the strongest part.  I tried some short plays and the torrent of rejections for them eventually became less punishing and less torrential than for the fiction.

From where did RAT TAT TAT originally come?

I seem to have written the same story several times: about the life of the mind being both noble and comic.

David Guaspari, author of RAT TAT TAT, stands in front of his principles.

David Guaspari, author of RAT TAT TAT, stands in front of his principles.

What other plays have you written, of which you’re particularly proud?

I’m certainly pleased with myself for having just finished a 15-minute musical (it was supposed to be 10) about boxing.  It began as words without songs — part of the comedy would be the actors simply declaiming lyrics — but, insanely, let myself to be talked into adding the music, a first for me.  And it turned out just fine.

What other theatre arts do you practice?
None.
What do you want audiences to come away with after seeing RAT TAT TAT?

Someone who saw the first production said that he’d enjoyed laughing and thinking at the same time.  That sounds about right.

What was your most memorable theatrical experience?

I’d just moved to England (to be a student) and drove down with some friends to London to see “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” at the Old Vic.  We were late and had to watch the first few minutes on closed circuit TV in the lobby, but it still felt like the theatre equivalent of walking into Yankee Stadium for the first time.

What teachers have affected you as a writer and why?

My freshman calculus teacher insisted that a piece of mathematics was not cabbalistic gibberish but lucid, if condensed, English prose.  An equation, after all, is a sentence, and omitting the period
after each one was just a concession to typographers.

What would we find under your bed?
No monsters.  Just dust bunnies.
What are you reading these days?
At the gym I’m listening to a recording of “Catch-22” — which, alas, is proving not nearly as entertaining as it seemed to be when I was 20.  (More jokey than funny.)  Also, Reynolds Price’s “Three Gospels” and a couple of the noirish Parker novels that the late great Donald Westlake wrote under the name of Richard Stark.

If you could host a dinner party with any three people, currently living or not, who would you invite and what would you serve?
I’ll stick to the living — too many dead to choose from: Robert Conquest, Tom Stoppard, Tom Wolfe.  Old (or fairly old) guys, and decidedly countercultural.  I’m a functional cook, so would produce something simple from a Moosewood cookbook (I specialize in the Tuscan Beans with Sage) or one of Marian Burros’ recipes for simple meals.
FRESH FISH 2.0 runs for two more weeks. Catch it now! order your tickets online at http://www.walkingfishtheatre.com, where there’s NEVER A HANDLING FEE!
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