Tom Cavanaugh is an award-winning writer, director, producer and a long-time Fringe contributor. This year he brings his creation “Now, Now, Now” to the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival along with a cast of 19 actors in a bi-coastal, simulcast, multimedia event.
However, to create his supernatural thriller, “Now, Now, Now,” Cavanaugh combines pre-recorded videos and music with live performances from actors from both coasts, all from their Covid-19-safe homes to yours!
Quite a feat indeed! We wondered how on earth he managed it, so we asked Tom!
What drew you to this sci-fi subject and how did you develop the play?
During pandemic lockdown, I was thinking about how to perform and create something to fill my time. I started listening to radio plays and Orson Well’s, “WAR OF THE WORLD” was first! The original radio show is brilliant! I had never listened to the entire production before and have never read the script of the broadcast up until now. Once I did that, I was hooked! That coupled with how I was feeling under the political situation at the time, I had to write sci-fi! I had to let it out!
How did you manage to coordinate this bi-coastal cast?
I looked for living conditions that were Covid safe. If you were a family of actors, you were a candidate. If you were living with some, you were a candidate. I wrote the piece with specific friends in mind and once I had the script and approached them, they were thrilled and all said yes! Once I had them, I worked their schedules and because it’s an east coast, west coast live production… juggling the three hours difference was everything and often worked to my advantage. I also became very conscious of the time the sunsets in Los Angeles. Once the sun is down, Zooming takes on a more theatrical experience. That’s why all the shows are 8pm L.A. time, that curtain time works out perfect with sunset.
How did you become a playwright and director?
I was an actor in NYC and I couldn’t find a monologue that I liked. I wrote my first monologue and took it to my acting class. Anthony Abeson is one of my best friends and creative inspiration! I was in his class and did the monologue. He asked who wrote it and I told him. He said, “You can write! Bring in more!” so more monologues came in and then they became scenes. He even let my writing be included in his end of the year scene nights with other actors in the roles. It was a great experience and I’ve been in love with writing ever since!
Do you have any guidance for anyone wanting to produce their own work?
YES…. Just do it! Do not let anything stop you from producing at least one show in your life! Everyone will tell you not to! Do it anyway! If a problem arises and they always do! Just strategize the best decision to make, fix the problem and always do what’s best for the show! Every production is a learning experience and it doesn’t matter if it’s a zero budget show or a $20,000 dollar show… Schedules of the actors won’t match! People won’t always finish the run. There’s never enough money! DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR SHOW and it will become the best experience of your creative life!
Why the Hollywood Fringe Festival?
Hollywood Fringe is the premiere creative outlet for the INDEPENDENT THEATER WORLD in Los Angeles! My first HFF was in 2014 and it was one of the best experiences in my life where I met fellow artists that actually support each other and want to see other artists succeed! You do HFF and the friends you meet in the first year will be the friends you work with till the day you die! I say that with a serious face! Two of the performers in my 2014 show are in the original cast of NOW, NOW, NOW… and people that I met at 2014 HFF are working with me on my 2021 HFF Show! The Hollywood Fringe has gotten me commissioned jobs writing plays for L.A. theater companies, my first full-length play produced for three months on Santa Monica Blvd back in 2017, memberships into several developmental Los Angeles theater companies and… made me part of a community in L.A. that is talented, amazing and loves when you experiment on stage. I mean, where else in L.A. can you have coffee with producers, actors, writers and directors all at one table, talking about the shows that they are producing and are running… and then offering each other Ticket swaps, just so they can all see each other’s shows? Only at HFF does this happen in L.A.
Hollywood is not the same town when the HFF is running and I like and… this year in particular, it is always a homecoming, but after Covid 2020, Hollywood Fringe 2021 is coming home and I’m doing it with 19 actors and 1 stage manager and… THEY’RE ALL MY FRIENDS!!!
Thank you Tom! I don’t know about you, but I cant wait to see this show.
Thursday, August 5 at 8:00pm (Preview Show)
Saturday, August 14 at 8PM
Tuesday, August 17 at 8PM
Wednesday, August 25 at 8PM