Allyson Currin and Youth Program FABUM
Allyson Currin is an award-winning playwright and actress. She is the author of over twenty plays, several of which have been honored by the Helen Hayes Awards, DC Theatre Scene and the Mary Goldwater Award from Theatre Lobby of Washington, DC. She has also been singled out for numerous honors from the Washington Theatre Festival of New Plays. The Washington Post has described her writing as making "actors literally swirl and swoon to match the excitement of the language". Her recent work-in-progress, The White Trash Grail Play, has already been previewed by First Draft at Charter Theatre at The Arts Club of Washington and Arlington's Theatre on the Run. We were excited for the chance to have her chat with Kelsea Johnson and Eva Meier of Youth Program FABUM.
Yesterday she met with Kelsea and Eva, along with managing director Lisa Grimes and artistic director Jameson Freeman, for an afternoon conversation that covered everything from her 'keys to succuss: "good mentors", "a supportive personal community", "never underestimate good karma" and "be nice to everyone" - pearls of wisdom that would benefit anyone interested in a career in the arts - to finding out that UNC, one of the schools that Kelsea has applied to, was Currin's alma mater. The playwright, who is headed to New York City this weekend for a staged reading of her play Ceasar and Dada at TBG Studio Theatre, also shared some personal stories. When asked about seeing her plays be casted, directed and produced into full-scale performances, she admitted anxiety ("I used to vomit before every performance") and pride. When asked, "Have you ever been unhappy with what a director has done with your work?" She replied, "Even if you don't like the way a show is put on or even if you're at odds with the director, you can still find it interesting how the actors portray your characters... I've learned the importance of ignoring the bad to focus on the good".
Currin's favorite quote is "A writer is someone who writes and that's all", calling it a moment of self-realization when she heard it. As a playwright, she says that "heart & head need to be married" in order for a play to succeed. Her favorites are very smart plays with lots of heart. In her own work, she likes to make an audience "laugh, think and cry in the same evening."
Any advice for aspiring actors, directors or playwrights?
"Cater to your audience!"
Canaan Rubin is a veteran writer, producer and director of television and new media. After a fifteen-year tenure with Entertainment Tonight, Rubin has worked with the biggest names in Hollywood. As creator of successful programming such as MTV's international hit show Duets, he has established himself in the entertainment industry as someone who is consistently relied upon by network executives and top producers to bring stories to life creatively on camera and deliver unique content. He currently executive produces the fashion series Trends for Zappos Couture.
Part of FABUM's internship program is to expose young people to diverse and accomplished individuals in the arts community. While spending some time back in Washington, DC (where he's originally from) this week, Rubin and Artistic Director Jameson Freeman met with our current FABUM Associates, Kelsea Johnson and Eva Meier.
Kelsea Johnson: On Wednesday, Eva and I had the opportunity to meet Canaan Rubin. Canaan has worked his way up in the production industry, beginning as a student at American University. He is noted for his work with MTV and other notable companies such as VH1 and CBS. Rubin was able to offer wonderful advice on pursuing a career in the arts industry while in college. He told us of his decision to leave the small town of Ithaca, New York for Washington, DC. This transition ultimately got him the internship that landed him in California. It was a pleasure meeting Canaan. He’s an inspiring example of a self-driven individual who achieved success in his field.
Eve Meier: This past week I had the honor of meeting Jameson Freeman’s friend and colleague, Canaan Rubin. Mr. Freeman describes Rubin as “self-made” in his line of work, something we all know to be a triumph in the arts world. After graduating from American University in 1994, he was immediately swept up by Entertainment Tonight, stationed in Los Angeles, working to promote the company against its competitors like Access Hollywood and Extra After numerous years and many promotions, Rubin left ET for the world of reality TV, creating and directing shows like Duets. Sitting at a Starbucks downtown, my coworker, Kelsea and I had the pleasure of meeting Rubin. Through the LA glamour, it was clear that he has been passionate about his work from the start. We discussed his work in LA and what it has been like to work with such an array of people. I am not in the slightest surprised that Rubin has made it to the position he is in today, simply because it was so apparent about how much he loves what he does, and how much drive he still has to do it.