KENNETH MOLLOY: A NEW-YORKER TELLING STORIES

Written by Jon Reitzel & Photography by Aehee Kang Asano

Kenneth Molloy, a senior at New York University, is double-majoring in Dramatic Writing (through the Tisch School of the Arts) and Classics (through the College of Arts and Science.) In the February 2010, Kenneth’s original play “Ghost of Dracula” had a month-long run in the Wings theater the West Village, where it sold out every night. The production was produced, directed, and performed entirely by students without any aid from the university. I’ve seen “Ghost of Dracula” twice, and both times it managed to completely draw me in, crack me up, and leave me cheering for an encore. Between the grotesque violence (be ready for lots of fake blood,) the literary pedigree (yes, that Dracula,) the tongue-in-cheek humor (there are spontaneous musical numbers,) and the explicit sex scenes (it’s all in good taste) there’s really something for everyone. “Ghost of Dracula” was accepted into the New York Fringe Festival, and recently completed its second run – once again, to great success. I sat down with Kenneth in his 3rd Avenue apartment to ask him about life as both a student and a successful playwright, what it’s like working with other students, and why theater and New York are so inseparable.

Q: What was it like to see your original play performed?

It was pretty awesome. That was probably something that attracted me to dramatic writing more than to prose or poetry: getting to see my work unfold in the visual realm and have others partake in it outside of my own head.

Q: Was it important for you, and for the other people involved in the production, to work with students?

It definitely makes it a more facile, easier experience, to be able to relate with someone with school, and to like, you know, understand working around finals and mid-terms and that sort of thing.

Q: You’ve recently been accepted to the New York Fringe Festival, which has to be very exciting.

Yes, I agree. (Laughs.)

Q: How did that happen? What was the process?

Fringe is a huge production. The entire thing is just like, two people who actually work for Fringe and a bunch of volunteers. It’s a huge thing, it’s really amazing, it’s really . . . this is going to sound lame, but it’s a beautiful thing that all these people are invited to share their shows, their work, in this enormous thing with a largely volunteer force. But as a result, there’s a lot of minutiae that has to be taken care of, and everything needs to go like clockwork, so it’s definitely a different experience from a rag-tag, sort of grassroots production. It is really exciting, and it’s good experience for me; I mean, I would recommend it to anyone – the process is really easy. There’s a small entry fee, but definitely get involved, it’s cool.

Q: The goal of the Campus Clipper Talent section is to show students that they can use their talents both to make money and also to help their community. How would you say theater has affected the community in New York City?

In terms of New York, when you go off-off-Broadway into that community, it’s something that is very uniquely New York, where you get voices that are endemic to the city and that really sort of capture the experience of living here. It is the real, extant, live experience of interacting with other people from your community in an actual place. You know that they are from here, at least are living here: those are New Yorkers on stage, and you are a New Yorker in the audience. There’s New Yorkers telling stories that are drawn from New York, for New Yorkers; so it’s definitely part of the community here, I think.

Q: For students coming to New York for the first time who say “I can’t afford to go to a play” or “I know nothing about theater,” do you have any dos-and-don’ts or advice you would offer them?

There are a lot of plays that are cheaper than a movie. Our show is cheaper than a movie; it was, and I believe it will continue to be cheaper than a movie. You just really have to look outside – student rush is one option, but beyond that you can get great seats for a lower-tier show if you look outside of Broadway or even off-Broadway to off-off. You can see great shows there that eventually move up and become world-famous.

Q: So now that you’ve conquered Fringe, what does the future hold?

I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and hope people keep approving. In the immediate sense, I’m shopping around my recently completed full-length play, “Catiline: Historia Arbitrabitur,” a topical historical drama about a poorly-conceived revolutionary conspiracy undertaken at the twilight of the Roman Republic. Because we’ve never ever seen that on stage before. (Laughs.)

Q: Is there anything you want to add?

Ladies, I’m single. (Laughs.)

For more information, search for Ghost of Dracula on facebook. To read my full-length interview with Kenneth, uncensored and uncut, check out campusclipper.com.

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