CAVEAT: I have collaborated *extensively* with Ben San Del in the past — we have been writing and comedy partners for years — and I have seen several early drafts of this script.
SHOW TITLE: Apple Picking
PRODUCER: Ben San Del Presents
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Two couples go apple picking. It escalates from there. A darkly comic, psychedelic crime thriller from the creator of encore-winning Fringe plays A Nice Guy’s Guide to Awkward Sex and Minnesota Middle Finger.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: This is a deceptively clever script.
INTERVIEWEE: Ben San Del (writer/director)
Just who do you think you are, anyway?
Oh, man, this is a broad question. I mean, wow, where do I start? Um, so, I’m Ben San Del, local playwright and stand-up comedian and 10-year Fringe veteran, and I’m resisting just copying and pasting my standard bio here, as that seems like a lazy move, but because I’ve been battling chronic insomnia the last two weeks, like I always do when it gets to the final days before show debut, being lazy right now sounds pretty damn good, except at this point I’ve now spent as much time writing about being lazy as I would have if I had just written up a proper description of myself, and I feel like I’ve really worn out my welcome for this question, so I guess, before I move on, I could share one more thing that’s already at this point I’m sure pretty obvious: I have a bad habit of writing run-on sentences.
So what’s the big idea?
This is my third ensemble show for Fringe and eighth Fringe production overall. It’s about romantic dates that go awry deep inside an apple orchard where two couples get wrapped up in life-threatening conspiracies of their own making. In a darkly comic, psychedelic setting, Apple Picking explores the nature of identity and reality itself. With talking trees.
How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?
It is screwy, isn’t it? Well, on a long road trip I drove past one of those recreational apple orchards, where people go to pick their own apples for fun, and I thought, “what if that family-friendly orchard were a front for a crime organization run by a murderous mob boss?” I thought that would be a fun idea to start with, and see where it goes from there during the writing process. It went to some pretty weird places.
Why should I care?
I guess, first, I can point to my track record. My last two plays were well-received at Fringe. A Nice Guy’s Guide to Awkward Sex and Minnesota Middle Finger both won the audience encore slot. Apple Picking is my most experimental play, not as safe as the romantic comedies and straight-up dramas I’ve done in the past, but if you want to see veteran actors Mo Perry, Natalie Rae Wass, Jason Ballweber, Christopher Kehoe, Rachel Petrie and Joshua Scrimshaw use their exceptional talents to tackle a twisty concept like this, then Apple Picking is your show.
Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.
“Just try it. It’s fun.”
She said. “Just pick an apple.
It’s your last supper.”
Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!