“MMF” written by David Kimple. Interview by Maya Contreras.
The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America. It takes place annually in August over the course of two weeks on 20 stages spread across several Manhattan neighborhoods. FringeNYC (unlike other Fringe Festivals) uses a jury-based selection process to pick it’s 200 shows. One of those shows is “MMF” written by David Kimple.
Maya Contreras: What is the name of your show?
David Kimple: MMF.
MC: What is it about?
DK: MMF is the story of a polyamorous relationship between Dean, Jane and Michael and the consequences of love in an untraditional relationship. It explores the isms of being emotionally invested in who we partner with. People often don’t understand what makes them do the things that they do and these people, because their circumstance does not afford them the obvious answers that a dual-partner relationship might have, are forced to try and identify what exactly caused the love to shift.
MC: What made you want to write about this particular subject?
DK: The actual premise of having 3 partners in this relationship was inspired by past relationships. Now, I’ve never had two partners at once but I have had the experience of love with a woman and love with a man at separate times. Bringing those varying experiences into the same room was, to me, a really interesting concept.
Perhaps the most obvious part of that interest comes from my being male and having had love with women and men. That bisexuality (personally, I’m fine defining it as bisexuality) is not something that, in my experience, people are often able to trust or believe as legitimate when it comes to men. For instance, I believe that if, hypothetically, a USAmerican male who had exclusively female partners for his entire life were to find himself in a single sexual encounter with another male and this encounter were public knowledge, that public would then identify his as gay or closeted or repressing something, etc. On the basest of levels, that single sexual encounter with another male would delegitimize the “honesty” of his sexual encounters with women up until that point.
This topic is something I love to bring up when we talk about MMF because the play not about bisexuality but the example is there. The sexuality and the sex is all taken for granted. I’m not going to give you a story about how a multi-partner relationship functions because it’s not the part of the story we’re focusing on. This isn’t a show that brings topics of sex or sexuality to the forefront of conversation; they simply are. As these people deal with the challenges of loving each other, our point of view as the audience can become interested in the “how do they?” of it all but it’s not explicitly dealt with in the dialogue.
MC: That was the biggest hurdle for you writing this piece?
DK: I love playing with story-telling and the ways that we experience a moment on stage. The show slips from something similar to a timeless memory into a monologue of a memory that is very specific and then to “real time” traditional dialogue to…you get the picture. It has been a great challenge to balance the artistic fun of switching storytelling styles and creating a play that the audience can watch without getting confused or frustrated.
It also creates an interesting problem as a writer who is interested in sharing his plays with other companies in hopes that they will want to produce. The play has to be readable and switching all over the place with style doesn’t make for a fun read.
MC: What did you enjoy most about the process of writing it?
DK: The short answer is that it (as does any writing project) helped me grow a lot in every avenue of my life. Emotionally, professionally, all of the above.
The long and cop-out answer is…I love every part of the process. No bullsh. I get really excited about the act of writing. I get excited about hearing it outloud for the first time or 20th time. I love seeing moments come to life exactly the way I imagined but love it even more when a team finds a moment that I didn’t even know I wrote. It is so cool when that happens. It happened a lot with MMF in a 2012 workshop that took place in Cambridge, MA. It was like watching someone else’s show that was my show but not my show.
MC: What does it mean to you to be apart of the New York Fringe Festival?
DK: Fringe is really important to me. It is a great platform for someone like me to get gritty with a play in production (as opposed to workshop or reading) and see if the play can survive. After watching workshops and readings directed by other people, I am going to direct this production so that there is no buffer my vision as a writer and what happens on stage. My co-producer is trusting me with a lot on this and I’m extremely grateful.
MC: Where can we learn more about you and your show (e.g. website, twitter)?
DK: At the moment, all arrows point towards our production company Goldfish Memory Productions. It is lead by myself and my partner Catie Humphreys. You can find us at:
www.goldfishmemoryproductions.com (COMING VERY SOON)
*Shameless plug! Following MMF’s debut in the NY Fringe, we will be producing another show called “Mare in the Men’s Room” Off-Broadway in October of 2014.