Walken on Sunshine is a fast-paced comedic play (think Mel Brooks meets The Muppets-minus the felt), about an anxiety-ridden filmmaker, Gavin, who accidentally lies to investors about having Christopher Walken in his movie and embarks on a ridiculous quest to get Walken! Along the way, neuroses, quirky love, bad guys and cowbells emerge to derail him. Will Gavin ever find Walken?? Completely underscored by live, improvisational accompaniment (and a musical number or two), the play weaves in and out of one absurd situation after another taking the audience on a rollercoaster of Walken-isms! But beneath the over the top comedy, the heart of the show shines through as Gavin learns that maybe finding Christopher Walken is not as important as finding the “Walken” that’s inside him.

DaveandDelance

We got a chance to meet up with Delance Minefee and Dave Droxler, who co-star in the New York Fridge comedic play, Walken on Sunshine!  The show is stirring up a lot of buzz throughout the festival, so we figured we’d give you an exclusive interview and convince you to go see it!

Lets start things off by speaking with Dave Droxler, who wrote the play and also stars as Gavin!

Walken01_final

US: Why was this play important for you to write?
 
Dave: It was important for me to write Walken On Sunshine for many reasons. However, some of those reasons I didn’t realize until much later. I first started writing this as a screenplay about ten years ago. It was the first time I felt like I could take on the task of writing something longer then 10 minutes. There was a moment where it seemed like this would actually become a movie. But it fizzled out. And luckily it did. I wasn’t in the right place to make this. I had to grow as a writer and as a person. The character I play, Gavin, has turned into a version of me. He suffers from severe anxiety, like I have dealt with my whole life. But I’ve learned how to take a step back from my irrational fears and look at the bigger picture to calm the anxiety. As I was learning how to do this in my everyday life, Gavin’s arc was coming into focus for me– he needed to go on the same journey! It was also important for me to learn how to find my voice as a writer and not edit myself to soon. Between these two, the creativity flowed right out of me and I now have a zany comedy with lots of heart!
 
US: If someone knew nothing about Christopher Walken, which is probably impossible, do you think they would still be able to connect with your play? 
 
DAVE: Yes, I do. Walken is just the catalyst for a bigger story: finding your true self. Both as an artist and a person. The metaphor of the play is learning that it’s not about finding the real Christopher Walken (things you think you NEED) but really about finding the “Walken” inside of you (your self worth). No matter what your background is, that is the one of the most relatable stories you can tell. Everyone goes through a phase where they think how some external thing will solve all their problems, only to learn that it wasn’t important in the grand scheme of things. Being confident and happy with what you have and who you are is what makes true happiness. A hard thing to do, but completely possible. Did I mention this is an over the top farce???
 
US: You also play one of the leads in the play, what about acting in something you wrote excited you the most? 
 
DAVE: Initially, it was the idea of writing a piece to highlight skill sets I’ve acquired over the years (voices, physical comedy, etc). But now as I’ve gotten past the major writing phase, it’s been exciting to figure out the multitasking aspect of it all. I’ve read how Woody Allen is known for being able to compartmentalize and that’s how he’s able to write, direct and (not as much of late) star in his work… churning them out once a year! I have zero interest in doing THAT, but I love the idea of learning how to feel confident in both departments (writing and acting). Where I can be acting in rehearsal, recognize something that needs a cut or rewrite, do it, then go right back into being an actor. It’s something I didn’t think my brain had the capacity of doing! I’m so smart!!! ; )
 
US: This play takes the audience on a roller coaster ride, in and out of absurd situations, what was your favorite one to write, and are any of these situations based on real life experiences? 
 
DAVE: Aw man, there are so many! For me, writing when you are close to bedtime allowed for the most ridiculous stuff to come out. Sometimes it’s not for the best, but those ones are easily weeded out leaving room for little gems of absurd comedy. There are a couple situations I don’t want to spoil, but there is one that’s actually based on a true story. When I was first starting out as an actor and taking odd jobs, I was a mascot for a knee replacement company. The mascot was a literal knee joint! It was big and bulbous and strange. It was for the employees, so pictures were being taken with them. One guy comes up to me to take a picture and starts saying “Is that Steve from Financing in that costume? It’s gotta be. Is that you, Steve? You’re hilarious, man! Hey guys! Check it out! It’s Steve! From financing!” I can’t respond to him, so for the entire day he was 100% convinced that I was Steve from Financing. That situation stuck with me as a fun anecdote to tell until it ended up in the play. It’s one of the very few things still left from the original screenplay, actually!
 
US: You touch on many issues in this play from love, being misunderstood, to family. What inspired you to make Gavin and Quinn half brothers?
 
DAVE: When I first wrote the characters of Gavin and Quinn, they were just buddies who worked together. But as I developed the piece I thought it would allow for more conflict to arise by having them be brothers. And to have them be twins…joined at the head…but one is black and one is white. At first it was just a running gag that wasn’t explained, like when everyone thinks Kermit and Fonzie are related. But as Gavins anxiety became the main focus for the conflict, I saw how there was an opportunity for a tense reveal for him later in the show. I think we all know what that reveal is… but the “why” is something you’ll have to learn by seeing the show.
 
US: You wear many hats from writing, producing, fundraising, to acting; as you prepare to debut the show, what valuable lessons would you share with others who may be interested in creating their own work?
 
DAVE: Find people you work well with and who put a fire under you. Producer and co-star, Maggie Carr, did that for me when I was first considering turning this into a play. Then more fire came from my wife, Chelsey Shannon, signing on as a producer. Then with the director, Marcus Stevens. Then the cast. It just steamrolled into a big fireball of comedic energy. Also, learn to find the right balance between being flexible with some ideas and confident in others. It’s a very organic process and you may not have the answers right away. But you will. When you are surrounded by other actively creative people it is contagious and so many wonderful things bubble to the surface because of it.
 
US: Being invited into the Fringe Festival is a great opportunity to showcase your work, what are you hoping to gain from this experience? 
 
DAVE: The most obvious thing would be exposure. Not just for myself and the play, but for everyone involved. This cast and creative team are a group of inventive, hilarious, and creative souls. Not one rehearsal has gone by where we are not doubled over laughing. It’s like a fun game of who can come up with the funniest bit or way to say a line to make each other laugh. It makes us step it up a notch and unites us. I cannot wait for you to see everyones performance in this! It’s become a great showcase for every person involved.
 
US: Prior to reading the Walken article, were you already a fan? If so, what were your top 5 favorite Walken movies of all time?
 
DAVE: Absolutely! I mean, I was never obsessed with him, until now. But my faves (in no particular order) are Batman Returns (first time I ever noticed him…and was terrified), Wedding Crashers (his line deliveries are flawless!), Pennies From Heaven (Walken can dance and be sexy??), Catch Me If You Can (he can be my dad!), and DeerHunter (give this man an Oscar, indeed!).

Now, lets meet with Delance Minefee, who stars as Quinn!

D.Minefee-CleanShaven
US: This play features a lot of funny, high energy and quirky moments; as an actor, what were you most focused on during rehearsals? Does you focus change when you perform in front of an audience?
 
Delance: In rehearsals, I always try to focus on the text and my cast mates. Timing is key in a comedy and if you’re not listening, the jokes will fall flat. I don’t think much will change once we have an audience. Hopefully we’ll have to hold for laughs but I’ll still be focused on the other actors.
 
US: What about this play gets you most excited, and why do you think its important for audiences to see it?
 
Delance: I’m most excited by this amazing cast. Dave Droxler, Maggie Carr, Jonathan Spivey, Paul Pakler and Jennifer Fouche are amazing playmates and I am just glad to be in the fam. Also Haley Wilson our Stage Manager deserves a medal for trying to wrangle our crazy. I think audiences are going to be wowed by the story itself and the talent of cast. Dave has really given us a gift.
 
US: There is a running joke in the play that Gavin and Quinn are half brothers. However, Gavin is white, and Quinn is black. How did you connected with your character? 
 
Delance: I don’t want to give away any of my super secret techniques, but the first thing I do with any character is see what the other characters say about him. How do they treat him, talk to, or about him. Then I try to find the places where the character’s traits overlap my own. With Quinn it was easy because he is a stereotypical big brother and being a big brother myself, I instantly had a lot to draw from.
 
US: Working within an ensemble, you are surrounded by so many personalities; what have you appreciated most about your experience throughout the process? 
 
Delance: First of all, everyone in this cast is hilariously talented. I spend most of rehearsal trying not to laugh and the rest of the time laughing uncontrollably. I appreciate that there are no divas. Everyone works together and is working toward the common goal.
 
US: As an actor you have amassed a diverse portfolio of work, from drama, comedy, to musical and experimental. How do you manage navigating through so many different acting genres? 
 
Delance: I just try to do things I find interesting and challenging. I have eclectic tastes and I’m willing to try anything. 
 
US: After this project, what do you have upcoming?
 
Delance: BrickaBrack, a theatre company I’m a member of, will be remounting “On The Flip Side” September 14-17th at Here Arts Center. “On The Flip Side” is derived from Post Cards that we, the BrickaBrack Ensemble have received. I will also continue to attempt making people laugh while standing up.
 
US: Prior to stepping on the stage, do you have any secret preparations that you partake in? 
 

Delance: Beyond a physical and vocal warm up, and a rain dance to the Sun God Ababinli, I don’t do anything special.

US:  If you could name 5 tracks that would be the soundtrack to this play what would they be?

  

Delance: Gonna skip the obvious “Walken on Sunshine.”

In no particular order
  1. “Sweet Dreams” Eurythmics 
  2. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship
  3. “Crazy in Love” Beyoncé
  4. “Benny Hill” Theme Song
  5. “The Wayans Brothers Show” Theme Song

 

 

Now, to give you even more reason to buy your show tickets, Let us announce that there are only 3 Shows Left!!! Purchase your tickets today

walken postcard back final copy

 

Visit the Show website for more cast information, in the meantime check out the Walken on Sunshine Promotional Video below, and don’t forget to purchase your tickets!!

 

Share Button