NOTE: PortFringe will be profiling PF14 Artists and their shows on this blog in the weeks leading up to the festival (June 24-29, 2014). The next snapshot is of PortFringe newcomers Merkins, Daniello & Sons of Brooklyn, NY. It was a pleasure to spend some extra time getting to know “The Scientists” in this extended blog interview. Enjoy!
Artist: Merkins, Daniello & Sons
Show: The Scientists
Description: Desperate to be the new wunderkinds of the scientific community, Dr. Ebbinghaus, Mssr. Longrais, and Herr Weiss will do anything to get into the 1888 World’s Fair… and Marie Curie’s bloomers. When they’re suddenly given a chance to present their findings on memory loss, they must combat the nefarious Louis Pasteur for the top prize. If only they could remember where they put the scotch. www.thescientistsplay.com
PF: Tell us something we don’t know about you and your PortFringe show.
MD&S: The Scientists is based on the experiments of the real life 1800’s German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. Other renowned scientists of the age, Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie are also featured as characters in the show.
PF: So. Let’s get right to it. Have any of you ever actually fantasized about Marie Curie?
MD&S: I mean, have you seen her?
PF: Are any of you actually scientists?
MD&S: Does being a mixologist count?
PF: just learned on your website that Louis Pasteur was a fraud and a crook. Ha! Who knew? What was something else you learned during your research that surprised or shocked you?
MD&S: We talk a lot about how saucy Marie Curie is–and it’s true! Right before she was presented her second Nobel Prize, it was discovered that she was involved with a married man. Because of the ensuing scandal, the Nobel committee un-invited her to the ceremony. However, she told them that what went on in her bedroom was none of their business and went to accept her award anyway!
PF: A few minutes ago, the top trending question on “askascientist.co.uk” was [not kidding] “How Much Energy Does it Take to Watch Eurovision?” Quickly, without consulting any research materials, and as if the fate of the world was hanging in the balance of your response – how would you answer this question?
MD&S: Half a Redbull vodka times the number of countries competing.
PF: Tell us about Merkins, Daniello and all of their Sons. They sound like people we’d like to meet.
MD&S: Oh thank you very much! We liked that the name made us sound like a law firm. Merkins and Daniello are the combinations of the the 4 founders last names (Mercado+Watkins & Daniels+Costello). We met while studying devised theatre at NYU and began writing and creating together. Our “Sons” are all of our outside collaborators who support us and help bring our plays to life.
PF: Are you guys working on any other projects right now?
MD&S: Yes! We are constantly thinking ahead to our next projects. We are in the early stages of development for a new piece called “Dictators’ Wives Club” about the great women behind their not-so-great men, loosely based on Lysistrata. Also a number of our company members are working on a new puppet piece entitled “Memento Mori” about a death photographer who steals the special talents of the corpses he photographs.
PF: What are you most looking forward to about PortFringe 2014?
MD&S: A lobster roll in one hand and a Shipyard in the other for four days straight.
PF: Have you spent time in Portland before?
MD& S: YES! Well Mark hasn’t. And we can’t wait to take him strawberry picking at Maxwell’s Farm and get him a Guinness Shake from Silly’s!
PF: Lobster or Steak? Discuss.
MD&S: Surf and turf. The best of both worlds!
PF: Indulge us as we get a bit philosophical: What does the term “Fringe Theater” mean to you?
MD&S: Fringe Theaters are the laboratories of the theatre-world. They provide a safe space for artists to take a little idea that may seem too crazy or too far-fetched or too out of the ordinary and explore it and test it in different ways in front of a community of people that cares and is rooting for you.
PF: And as we get even more existential: Why is theater important?
MD&S: For us, theatre is chance to tell important stories in a unique format that may otherwise get lost. It’s easy to see historical figures for their significance but lose sight of the people they were. We take what you think you know of a specific person or event and turn it on it’s head as a way to gain a new perspective.
PF: What advice do you have for any aspiring scientists that may be reading this blog?
MD&S: Please invent a cure for the hang over.
SEE MERKINS, DANIELLO & SONS’ “THE SCIENTISTS” AT PORTFRINGE 2014!
Friday, June 27 at 10:00pm – PSC Storefront Theater
Sunday, June 29 at 12:00pm – PSC Storefront Theater
for more information about PortFringe, visit www.portfringe.com