Behind the Pineapple with: Max Mondi

HOLY COW! OUR NOVEMBER SHOW IS TOMORROW!!

What better way to prepare for it’s awesomeness than to get to know MAN/CHILD playwright Max Mondi.

So let’s waste no time and jump right in!

FPNYC: So Max…How did you become a theatre artist?

MM: It all came together for me my senior year of undergrad. In addition to writing my first play, a full-length about a momma’s boy who refuses to grow (they told me to write what I know), I also took my first trip to New York over Spring Break. My first night I saw Gina Gionfriddo’s US Drag, and it absolutely blew me away, both the production and the writing. I didn’t want to leave me seat. Later in the evening, while peeing in an alley (I was in college, after all), I decided that this was it, that no matter how hard it would be, art is all I want do.

FPNYC: What would you say inspires you most?

MM: My girlfriend is one of my biggest inspirations. Not only is she beyond brilliant and caring, but she is currently in medical school, which on an average day can find her studying nonstop for 12 hours. I have no idea how anyone could do this, but she is there every day, learning how to (literally) save lives, and still finds ways to support me and everyone around her. I see this, and I think, “Well I can at least sit down and write out a couple jokes.”

And I love Woody Allen, but who doesn’t!

FPNYC: Here’s a question EVERY writer just LOVES…process…do you have one? I find I am resistant to answer/ask this question…so let’s make this a two parter…why do you think writers have trouble answering that?

MM: In terms of process, oftentimes I start off with a small exchange of dialogue or a general scenario. Something I think is funny or even just mildly interesting. A few days later, if it still interests me, characters or a general story might grow out of it. Usually this occurs while I’m doing something else, like my day job or folding laundry. I’ll write down a bunch of notes, ideas, and dialogue in a notebook. Once enough pages accumulate, I’ll flesh them out on my now 9-year-old laptop (I love the version of Word it carries). Eventually, I may or may not write out a full draft of a play. This, of course, is a very general impression of my process, and it’s really only a guess, to be honest.

It’s certainly a tricky question to answer, only because for each play, bit, or scene, it’s always different. I looks back at any piece I have written, and I rarely have even the slightest clue where it came from or how and when I did it.

FPNYC: How did Man/Child come to be?

MM: ManChild is actually very atypical from the kinds of stuff I’ve written before, which can be most easily categorized as romantic comedies. Initially, I had an idea for an older guy, this sort of loveable loser, probably a stoner, who develops a friendship with his friend’s kid, to whom this guy bestows shockingly good advice, much to the surprise of his friend and others around him. Something very sweet and sentimental. At the same time, however, I was also obsessed with how people rationalize doing terrible things, especially when they know they are terrible. Like, how does someone justify racism, when they should know better, as opposed to our grandparents who possible couldn’t. Finally, I was also interested in the challenge of writing the most despicable person I could conceive and see if we could still sympathize with him. All these ideas just happened to coalesce simultaneously and out came this play.

FPNYC: What’s next for Mr. Mondi?

MM: Right now I am shopping around my new full-length play, You Deserve Me, to various theaters, workshops, and festivals. In addition, I am going to start in on my first screenplay. It’s a romantic dramedy, where a guy and girl break up on a subway platform, and we follow their separate but intersecting journeys over the course of the film. She might get into drugs, he might hook up with a pregnant woman, who knows! Or, I might just scrap that and write about a 70-year-old woman who decides to have a child. It’s anyone’s bet at this point.

Be sure to check out MAN/CHILD by Max Mondi tomorrow night at 8pm at The Drama Bookshop.

Keep it FRESH ya’ll!

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