Ahead of the 44 Plays for 44 Presidents event on Monday, October 29th, I had a chance to connect with Carl Brandt Long of Grain of Sand Theatre. Here's our conversation:
Jacqueline Lawton: How did your company form and how long have you been presenting work in D.C.?
Carl Long: Two actors and a director were discussing Hamlet over drinks and the second story in it – the political story behind the revenge tragedy. The conversation turned into Hamlet: Reframed at the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival, and we’ve been growing ever since.
JL: What impact do you hope to make in the D.C. theatre community?
CL: Our goal is to make high quality, engaging, and thought-provoking work that highlights use of language and storytelling, with a modest budget.
JL: Is political theatre important to you?
CL: We feel that political theatre is valuable for the community, especially in DC. Though politics informs many of the stories Grain of Sand tells, we don't consider ourselves political theatre company, since we don't have a political or social agenda.
JL: Why did you decide to participate in 44 Plays for 44 Presidents?
CL: We like collaborating with other people and other theatre companies, and the resulting energy in the room when a bunch of creative people play together. New faces and new ideas are very inspiring. We also like discovering new perspectives on familiar stories – in this case, the way the script features different storytelling methods for each president.
JL: Which presidents are you featuring? What’s their political affiliation and campaign slogan?
CL: We’re featuring:
JL: What’s something interesting we should know about them?
CL: Here are a few things:
JL: Did any of them support the arts while in office? If so, how?
CL: I’m not sure about Pierce and Eisenhower’s public support while in office.
JL: If he was running for office this year, would you vote for him? Why or why not?
CL: No to all three. Pierce was willing to say whatever would please the crowd, and I’m not a fan of Eisenhower’s or Ford’s foreign policy.
JL: In addition to 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, what’s next for your company?
CL: Grain of Sand’s production of You Can’t Get a Decent Margarita at the North Pole begins on November 29 and runs through December 23 at The Shop at Fort Fringe. See our website for more information!
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!