Sam Shepard and Patti Smith performed Cowboy Mouth back in 1971. The play follows two sad sacks, Cavale and Slim. She's kidnapped him at gunpoint in order to make him a rock 'n' roll star, but they're just wasting away in a messy room. Sounds like college a little, no?
This Saturday, Liz Ferrer, Jeffrey Winthrop, and Shaun Disco will perform Cowboy Mouth at O Cinema after this coming art walk clusterfuck. The cast and crew hopes to bring an alternative experience to South Florida audiences. And they just might have chosen the perfect play. Cowboy Mouth will surely entice Miami scenesters and lovers of the hip as well as 305's crop of theater heads. Ferrer and Winthrop, the two stars of the play, took time out from rehearsing to discuss their characters, theater in Miami, and rock 'n' roll.
New Times: Can you tell me why you chose this Sam Shepard play in particular?
Liz Ferrer: I was supposed to do it when I was in college with a professor on the side. He told me I would be great for this character, Cavale. I read it, I loved it, we were supposed to do it, it didn't follow through.
Jeffrey Winthrop: This play was never really intended for mass audiences. It was just a simple play done once with its original cast and after that, it was just in reproduction. But why this play? It's iconic enough but it's also artistic enough, and it deals with issues that we all, as creative individuals, encounter. Can we have a muse who will push us far enough to be successful? Or are we just going to succumb to our own disability?
Can you tell me a little bit about the characters you're playing and how you identify with them?
Liz: Cavale is basically a fucking rock 'n' roll bitch. Patti Smith is Cavale, and Sam Shepard is Slim, Jeffrey's character. She's a free spirit, she's artistic, she's passionate, driven, and it's really easy to relate to her.
Jeffrey: I can relate to Slim because I've done nothing with myself in the almost 30 years of my life, but I have the potential to do so. And I think that's where, even if I never read this play, I feel like I can relate because having the potential and the actual doing is two different things. And some people possess the actual ability to do versus the ability to create.
The character Slim wants to be something of greatness, a rock 'n' roll star, nothing more nothing less, but he's torn from his responsibilities of something that makes him truly happy, a wife and kids. The simple anchors in your life can make you happy. Cavale's character comes around and inspires him, and dazzles in front of him this beautiful gem of becoming something better than what you are.
You feel like you're bringing a different sort of theater to South Florida, sort of you're offering an alternative to what's already out there. How is that?
Jeffrey: I feel like we have our "alleged Broadway" and our off-Broadway, but we need more of the off-off-Broadway, more the tangible, the not touristy theater. The goal and the intention behind all this is to inspire everybody who has the desire to put on theater to put it on, do it, do it 100 percent and don't be afraid of it.
Liz: And if you can't move to New York, bring New York to Miami. We have so much, Jeffery and I were talking before, we have so much here that we don't take advantage of. If we do this play in New York, 5,000 people have done the same thing. This has never been done in Miami, so it's nice to have actually start making things happen here. We have a big visual arts community, we have a medium music community, we have no theater community, maybe we can actually make it happen.
So, you chose O Cinema as the venue. Is there any reason you thought this'd be a good spot for you guys?
Jeffrey: They were the most accommodating and from the get go, from the presentation of the project, they were all for it. And it was, it'd be kind of interesting to do this play, which is a very stripped down play, it's very basic, very simple, it's one act. There's no lightning cues, which is great because there's no lighting in a movie theater. It really makes you, ties your hands behind your back to make it as real as possible.
Liz: It's nice to do it, why do it in a fucking theater? I would like to do more shows in unexpected places. Like happenings in the '60s.
Tell me about the music.
Jeffrey: I don't want to call it a rock 'n' roll musical, but it's about the makings of someone who is coming to terms with their own creativity. He's writing songs throughout the play.
The music plays a big role.
Liz: That's the whole point of the play.
Jeffrey: If someone reads it, there is no music in the play.
Did you guys add music to the play?
Liz: There's lyrics in the play, but [Jeffrey] wrote the music for it.
When this play's been performed before, there's been no music?
Jeffrey: No. I've seen it before and it's really been so safe.
You'll be singing?
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Jeffrey: Yeah. In the play, there's a progression of, every story has an arc, every character has an arc. But in here, the music has its own arc, where it starts at this one idea and it turns into this.
Catch the play at O Cinema (90 NW 29 Street, Wynwood) on Saturday at midnight. Arrive early, though, because doors close at midnight. Doors open at 11 p.m. Costumes are by Josephine Wiseheart and Jessica Bosch, photography's by Jipsy, and set design is by Shaun Disco. Get event details on the Facebook page.