After a successful premiere at the Hudson Guild Theatre, Anthony J. Piccione’s A Therapy Session with Myself, his controversial, semi-autobiographical drama about living with mental illness and Asperger’s syndrome – is enjoying an open-end run at the cutting-edge Kraine Theatre on the same block as New York Theatre workshop, KGB, and LaMama ETC. atswm.brownpapertickets.com.
A Therapy Session with Myself tells the story of Alex Grayson, a young college student and aspiring writer living with severe social anxiety, depression, and Asperger’s syndrome. During the summer before his senior year, he receives a mysterious visit from “himself”, a human incarnation of his inner consciousness. As they interact, Alex is forced to reflect on his own flaws and personality quirks, as well as some of the darkest and most painful memories of his adolescence, while also pondering the question of whether or not he can overcome his inner demons, and ultimately build a brighter future for himself.
Continuing our series on our friend, Anthony J. Piccione’s show, Five Star Arts Journals grabbed hold of Travis Martin. Familiar name in our pages? Yup. Travis has been with the production from the beginning. Now, a year later, we hooked-up with Trav again to check-in with him.
Travis, what do you continue to do in [re]-creating your character?
Past experiences and taking from real people I know help me in creating a character. I also have begun using a method that I learned from a free Chekhov acting class. So, it is half basing off real people I know and the other half on immersing myself in the reality of the play. Hopefully, I’m able to do it successfully.
On that note, is there something special or different you find you need to do in creating your role as you will be doing it periodically for the next year
With the amount of time between performances, I feel that I can improve or change what I do with a certain performance. Half I feel is not being satisfied with a portrayal and the other half is my unnecessary insecurities with being an actor and getting praise.
After all this time, how do you gauge your audience? (Are they “getting it” and what do you do if they’re not?)
It usually involves seeing how the director and cast outside of a scene react to what I do for the first time. I then either incorporate or ignore what I do depending on how people react/respond.
How does this play help you as an actor? (it could be deep as in character and technique work or funny like “well I got a job till 2020.”)
Besides having an acting gig and making my Off-Broadway debut, this play helped me as an actor in being part of community. Being someone who is shy and a bit of a loner, this allows me to connect with people and further expand on (hopefully) getting more roles and bounce off ideas for writing. This play is also like looking in a mirror in a way, being a writer as well and having difficulties with socializing due to a speech and language difficulty. It helped me come to terms with some parts of my past and realizing that I could have had it worse. Another thing was that this was the first time I got to play a sincerely happy character, which I was lost with at first. But, having done this play multiple times, I realize some techniques with getting out of my comfort zone.
Anthony plays a powerful role in the continued success of the show. What’s it like having the author (of a play with autobiographical moments) right there in the theater … night after night?
It’s liberating. Usually, I would think that having the author of a biographical play would be constricting since it’s his or her life. However, Anthony gave us a lot of freedom for us and the director. He was very open to us making our own interpretations about this.
Well, Travis, thanks again. We’ll check-in next year… and the year after … and the year after that … and …