Ranting with Cyle: Chatting with Eric Tipler on His Musical ‘One Night in New York!’ by Cyle Durkee

There are certain shows that hit you with a sledgehammer (Rent) to get their point across. There are others that cut you slowly and nimbly until you realize that your heart is exposed and you’re bleeding all over your jacket (WIT), and then there are shows that flirt with all the aspects of their core theme but don’t ever attempt to explain it. They leave that up to you.

That is what I discussed with Eric Tipler when we chatted about his Fringe show One Night in New York!

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Let’s discuss what flirtation is. First, flirtation is something that can be difficult to identify (Oops! Dropped my napkin. Sorry, I didn’t mean to brush your leg on the way up! (Giggle). Because that same exchange can be identified as awkwardness or embarrassment (I’ve certainly seen some awkward flirtation in my day {and attempted it as well [four glasses of liquid courage will apparently make you “courageous” enough to insist that the cute guy you are talking to is misspelling his own name….awkward.]}) Flirtation has, at its core, a story. In this case clumsiness, that leads you to believe one thing and then takes you in a completely different direction. It allows for subterfuge to increase the mystery of the situation while pinning the attention of the subject to exactly where you want their focus. And finally, it allows for the grand entrance of the knowledge that someone is hot for you. This knowledge never needs to be spoken, but it blooms in the mind of the participants simultaneously and gloriously.

Eric Tipler. Photo by The Washington Blade's Michael Key. http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/07/10/queery-one-night-in-new-york-playwright-composer-eric-tipler-washington-dc-theater-fringe-festival/

Eric Tipler. Photo by The Washington Blade’s Michael Key.

Eric and I discussed any number of topics during our discussion. We ranged from discussing hook up sites online, to the nature of Fringe, to the themes of the show, and personal histories. We seemed to stroll about each others conceptual models and trip lightly across the threshold of many philosophical conversations without ever choosing to nail one down. And as we almost discussed all these topics we discovered several things. We discovered that it is possible to define the space that a concept takes by discussing all the ancillary topics. We discovered that I should probably go to Divinity school because all I seem to want to discuss is the true nature of things  And we discovered that One Night in New York! was written along those same lines.

Paul Luckenbaugh and Ryan Patrick Welsh. Photo by Ted Eytan.

Paul Luckenbaugh and Ryan Patrick Welsh. Photo by Ted Eytan.

This show, while ostensibly about a random hookup, has heart and promise far beyond that premise. The show, like the conversation Eric and I had fills out all the puzzle pieces around the central concept leaving a hollow in the center. That hollow is the negative of the true concept (for those of you born after digital cameras became the norm a “negative” is the precursor to a photograph in which all the colors are reversed). And by coloring only the outline of the deeper concepts in the show Eric has essentially defined those concepts. I say “essentially” because leaving the specific internal contours blank while creating the basic structures allows for everyone who experiences the show to step inside the ideas presented and live comfortably there for a time without brushing up against the sharp corners of personal ideology.

There were many concepts that arose from the internal shape of our conversation, but the most significant, for me, was a sense (though it was never specifically discussed) that taking a moment to find some peace will allow you to discover many things. You will discover what you are truly after. You will discover why you are after it. And you will discover that it probably doesn’t mean nearly as much as you think. And that taking that moment to step away from your problems will give the perspective necessary to see the larger issues and desires. All of a sudden, you find a new path that leads you so much further than the one you are on. We all seek that path, and I think that this show may give the moment of peace we need to find it.

LINK
Capital Fringe Review: ‘One Night in New York!’ by Joel Markowitz.

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One Night in New York! plays through July 27, 2013 at Gala Hispanic Theatre -3333 14th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For performance information and to purchase tickets, go to their Capital Fringe page.

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