BWW Interview: Megan Loughran and F THEORY at NJ Rep 8/17 to 9/24
New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) presents the world premiere of F Theory, a funny, poignant, and uniquely thought-provoking play about the power and complexity of lifelong friendship. The show will be on the Long Branch Stage from August 17 through September 24. Directed by Ethan Heard, the play is co-written by, and starring Megan Loughran and Alex Trow.
In F Theory, Marianne and Ellie are bright, charming college roommates prone to break out in spontaneous tap dance routines in the middle of study sessions, when we first meet them. They come from very different backgrounds and are headed into very different futures-wealth, marriage, and anthropological adventures for one; family troubles, solo living, and a career as a musician for the other. But the bond they forged on meeting is that rare sort that transcends all circumstance and thrives across all time; even across several continents in their case. Or does it? What happens when you realize the friendship you have valued on the merit of its fortitude through everything for decades means something else entirely to the person on the other end? F Theory gives center stage to friendship, a relationship so often sidelined in both art and life to family, romance, marriage, though it is often stronger than them all.
Megan Loughran and Alex Trow are actors and writers based in New York City. They met at Yale University, from which they both graduated, as did director Ethan Heard. Also featured in the cast is Pheonix Vaughn, a regular at NJ Rep, who will be performing the role of "Marianne", September 15 - 17.
Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Loughran about the upcoming production of F Theory.
Loughran is an actor, singer and writer based in New York City. As an improviser, she performed with the Chicago City Limits National Touring Company, after training at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Megan performed in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, starring Emma Thompson. As a cabaret artist, she was a 2015 Fellow in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret Conference, under the artistic direction of John McDaniel, and is the winner of the Champions' Edition of NYC's Cabaret Showdown. Megan wrote the online sketch "Resting Bitch Body", featured on Elizabeth Banks' comedy website, whohaha.com, in which she co-stars with Alex Trow. Graduate of Yale University.
How long have you been working on the F Theory project?
Alex and I started working on F THEORY about a year and a half ago, in February of 2016. We first sat down together at a restaurant in Manhattan called Annabel, and made notes over red wine and kale pizza. We wrote on cocktail napkins because that seemed far more exciting than paper.
Tell me a little more about the collaborative process with Alex.
When we first started writing, we mapped out an eight-scene structure, and alternated who wrote each scene. Initially we gave each other feedback and edited our scenes independently, but at some point any "rules" melted away and now we both have our hands in everything at all times, kind of like when there's only one cheese platter at a big party.
What are some of the challenges of co-authoring a theater piece?
It would be difficult to co-author a play if we were two people who disagreed often, but luckily we're pretty simpatico! In the instances where we do have differing opinions, we have a try-it-both-ways policy. That way, no one feels her ideas have been shut down, and we can make decisions together based on evidence from a trial run. We keep a running tally of who was right on a big chalkboard that says "Who Is Better?"
How does it feel to bring your own writing to life on stage?
What a thrill! We've spent a good amount of time imagining the world of this play in our heads, and now we get to inhabit that world as actors. It's an incredible feeling. We're very lucky to be collaborating with our ridiculously talented director, Ethan Heard, and NJ Rep's excellent designers, as we transform F THEORY from notes on a napkin into a premiere production!
Why do you think metro area audiences will enjoy the show?
We hope you'll laugh (it's a comedy!) but we also hope you'll ponder a question or two about the essential part of the human experience that is friendship. Bring your friends!
How do you like working with NJ Rep.
We're so grateful to NJ Rep for welcoming us, and giving us such a dreamy artistic summer home! We've had the ultimate opportunity to refine the play as writers, and rehearse it as actors, feeling supported at every turn by the amazing artists and designers who make up the NJ Rep team.
NJ Rep is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch NJ. Previews of F Theory begin on Thursday, August 17. Opening night with reception is Saturday, August 19. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $46 ($50 for opening night) and are available at 732-229-3166 or online at www.njrep.org.
Editor's Note: Stay tuned to Broadwayworld.com NJ. We will also be interviewing Alex Trow about F Theory.
Photo Credit: Michael Benabib, www.michaelbenabib.com.