Matthew Roland is the writer and director of "Bill and Erin: One Night Standards," showing at the 2010 Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival.
Q. Your artist’s statement says that this performance will raise issues such as loneliness (together/apart), straightness, gayness, sex and torture without meaningfully addressing them. Please explain the torture part.
At the end of the day, we figured a light-hearted romp with sing-alongs and joke-em-ups was the perfect forum to do a !little satire on waterboarding. That was an odd day.
Q. Who are Bill and Erin, and how did they hook up?
“Bill” and “Erin” are bffs and roommates. He’s gay and lonely. She’s straight and horny. The show’s about how they fix that, at least for one night. If the plot sounds familiar, it should. I stole it from “Little House on the Prairie.”
Q. What does Don Jamaica add to the mix? On your website, http://billanderin.tumblr.com, he looks like a character from “Boogie Nights.”
Don is to our show as boogie is to nights. The gratuitously talented William C. Skaggs, Erin Cohenour, Corey Jefferson and composer Christopher Matthews bring the hustle. Mad huge hustle, I might add. And when they do, there’s Don with the bustle. So, to answer your question, bustle.
Q. Your play is called “One Night Standards.” Are you advocating for some sort of principles or requirements when it comes to short-lived sexual relations? Or what is meant by “standards”?
In matters of short-lived sexual relations, I only feel qualified to advise fruit flies. Hey fruit flies, there’s so much more to life than sex. Take a minute to look — oh, you’re dead now. Regarding the show’s “standards”: We’ve got a few musical numbers, including two originals which we hope people will enjoy like they did on “Little House.”
Q. What’s your favorite line from the play?
“Sincerity bedevils my immune system.”
Q. Who is this show most likely to irritate, offend or piss off?
Anyone who took part in the last census, for starters. Some folks thought my play, “Another Classic of Western Literature,” was only funny to people on drugs. So, drug addicts who lack a sense of humor. And fill out the census.
Q. You’ve had a notable career as a playwright. What’s been your best moment?
There was a performance of ACOWL where everything just came together — the pros I was lucky to work with and the audience were “same page, every page” all show long. It’s an epic win just to get everyone in the same library. So when that particular show ended, I definitely hit my head on the moon.
Q. If you could have written any play, what would it be?
Hamlet, I think. No maybe not. Yeah. Hamlet. Wait, hold on. Can I have more time on this one?
Q. If you were mayor of Indianapolis, what one thing would you change about this city?
I’d push for a law requiring Ann Dancing's hemline be extended to floor-length. Though I'm sure somebody would just lobby it up to ankle.
Q. Who is YOUR favorite local celebrity?
Ron Spencer of Theatre on the Square certainly comes to mind. Theatre is hard. And here, for one reason or another, there are times when it seems more logical to get the grill going in a tornado. That said, more than a few artists in Indianapolis do it season after season with a grace I couldn’t buy. Ron stands out because he gave me my first local gig and has a lovely singing voice.
Q. If you were going to jail for life, where would you go for your last meal?
Seriously — Iaria’s. Antipasti, ravioli, garlic bread for the sauce. They’re unrivaled at their mix of Italian and comfort, which would appeal to me under such circumstances.
Q. Do you think Indy is really ready for a play that ends with “three-way consensual lovedancing?” Is audience participation allowed?
We didn’t check the charter, but we hope the town is down. As to the second part, well, would it still be three-way lovedancing once the lawyers get involved?
Q. Indianapolis: Love it or leave it?
...as long as it’s consensual.