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Interview with Ben Target


Ben Target in Lorenzo. Photos by Carol Rosegg.

LORENZO is a humorous yet heartfelt show about caring for loved ones. I had the opportunity to ask Ben Target about his process, including how he chose some of the show's components.


How do you prepare to perform such a personal and intimate show?

The show is actually really fun to perform, even though it deals with the somewhat heavy topic of death. I love getting to tell the story every night and it has plenty of creative challenges I have to figure out in front of the audience, things like live carpentry, a gymnastic dance sequence and friendly, improvised interactions with the crowd. I tend to warm up by listening to Taylor Swift with the wonderful Stage Managers Rose Hockaday and Madeleine Blossom. We also have a little gossip about who’s dating who in the theatre scene and then, come showtime, I’m ready to give it my best.

It’s wonderful how you ask the audience about their fantasy deaths before the show begins. What are one or two of your favorite fantasy deaths?

I genuinely appreciate them all. The most memorable ones have been the one film director Edgar Wright gave me: Swallowed whole by a Great White Shark, and one an audience member from Brooklyn gave me the other night: Floating off into the ether after a marvellous banquet with all my friends.

What prompts you to interact with the audience beforehand? (Thank you for the coffee).

The whole reason I make work is to bring people together. I love that art can be a way to acknowledge we are all somehow connected and, therefore, we deserve each other’s care and respect. Serving the audience at the top of a show is an act I think embodies this and sets up the story I tell which is about the year I spent as a live-in carer for my adopted uncle Lorenzo.

Did your perception of death change after writing this show?

Yes. Significantly. In the best possible way. As cheesy as I know this sounds, writing this show has made me realise that any time I get is a gift. Before the pandemic, I was a detrimentally ambitious, anxiety-fueled artist, always focusing on What’s Next! Now, having been around death a lot, I know that time is fleeting, nothing is promised, and because of this, I live with a renewed sense of purpose: I try to be kind, I try to have fun, I try to be grateful for everything I get to experience, especially when it is shared with others. I’m utterly delighted to be performing this show to the good people of New York City.


Thank you, Ben!


Check out our review of LORENZO.




"LORENZO"

Written and Performed by Ben Target

Directed by: Adam Brace & Lee Griffiths

April 24- May 19, 2024

59E59 Theaters (59 E. 59 St., NYC)










 

Yani Perez, M.F.A, is a poet, playwright, translator, and educator. Her plays have been presented in various theaters in the United States such as La Mama and Yale University as well as internationally in Bogotá, Colombia. She works at IATI Theater, one of the oldest Latinx theaters in NYC. She is currently working on translations of Latinx artists in hopes of introducing them to English-speaking audiences.









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