Wrangling the “Randy” crew

It’s always a great day at Randy’s….unless you work there. Written by Alexander Perez and directed by Toney Brown, Randy’s Dandy Coaster Castle takes the audience on a thrill ride…through a normal work week.

A brutal comedy that explores the low wage labor complex and ideological divides between generations of Cuban immigrants. Running August 19-29 2021 at IRT Theatre TICKETS

OuterStage grabbed the company for some thoughts as they prepare for their second week running. So far, reviews and commentary have offered high praise for this “play for the worker” reminiscent of Odets, Rice, and Orwell.

What prompted you to write such a topical piece?

Alexander Perez: The piece started off as a far out post-apocalyptic, 4 people stuck in a bunker type deal. Then as the pages came I realized the story was fighting very hard to break out of the bunker and that the concept was overtaking the narrative more than me trying to say something so I tried to think of a similar environment that embodied that same level of misery and existential dread and thought “My break room at work!”. Everything else spun out and adjusted from there. As for its current relevance to the culture war,  I consider it more luck than anything else. That said people have been getting screwed over by capital for decades so that conversation hasn’t really ever left the greater consciousness. The proverbial albatross hanging over the head of the labor market. 

Do you have personal experience in these subjects?

Yes. While I’m about as happy as I’ve ever been with my current job, I’ve held a litany of occupations which treated me to countless little indignities all too familiar for anyone who’s ever worked at a place.

What was the largest obstacle in presenting this piece?

We’ve been very lucky to have an enthusiastic cast and crew, good relationships with our rehearsal space and venue, a handsome endowment from the City Artists Corps Grant program, so my usual excuses have all gone out the window. This time around it’s this damn pandemic which is a basic answer but it’s the truth. It would have been nice to be able to pack the theater to the brim but we’re much more concerned with folks being able to join us and have fun without concern for their safety.

What next for it … and for you? 

I’m still shopping the show around to different development opportunities so we’ll see if any of that pans out. If we’re lucky, someone who sees this current version of the experiment might want to help me take it to the next level. As for me? I’m pooped. I’m gonna do my best to take it easy. Give some attention to my guitar or sketchbook who have remained neglected while this project came together. 

Nate Betancourt (who created the role of Ramón) 

Tell us about yourself as an artist? I do work I enjoy with people who enjoy it. I relish the unpredictability of rehearsals and the ability to play and keep joy in the work, even in challenging circumstances. I boil my experience as a performer down to, “I’ll do it if it’s fun.” 

How valuable is live theatre as a platform of current (world) events? Many artists might, and should, say that live theater is invaluable to every culture around the world regardless of whether or not the story is meant to reflect current events. I believe it’s value is determined by the community it presents itself to. If the community values it, live theater will have a greater chance of thriving and hopefully bring people closer together.

What research did you have to do to create your roles? From socioeconomic background to what songs the character would listen to. I went to a local faire on a scorching hot day and roamed about, seeing what I could put in my mind’s eye to build Ramòn’s park.

Did anything in this play “hit home” for you? I learned it’s important to ask “why?” of everything your character does/says/doesn’t say until it “hits home”. One of the most lingering is the pursuit of happiness in low-paying jobs and services. I believe happiness starts with respect. Why care about your job when the pay is terrible? If no one respects you why should you respect others? It breaks down communication and any hope of change.

What research did you have to do to create your roles? From socioeconomic background to what songs the character would listen to. I went to a local faire on a scorching hot day and roamed about, seeing what I could put in my mind’s eye to build Ramòn’s park.

Did anything in this play “hit home” for you? I learned it’s important to ask “why?” of everything your character does/says/doesn’t say until it “hits home”. One of the most lingering is the pursuit of happiness in low-paying jobs and services. I believe happiness starts with respect. Why care about your job when the pay is terrible? If no one respects you why should you respect others? It breaks down communication and any hope of change.


Teagan Kazia

Tell us about yourself as an artist?
I’m the kind of artist that wants to do pretty much everything that world of art has to offer. The idea of pursuing one type of artistic career has always felt comically limiting, especially since all arts are connected to each other. Acting, designing, singing, illustrating, dancing, writing, they’re all part of the same ecosystem, so why not explore as much of it as possible? No artist is just one thing, and I am no exception. 

How valuable is live theatre as a platform of current (world) events? Live theatre is, and always has been, an incredibly valuable means of encapsulating current events. In an age where it’s easy to read a newspaper, check your phone, or turn on the news and absorb the impersonal data, there’s no end to the value of live art providing humanity, perspective, and education in perfect balance. Live theatre allows us and, sometimes, challenges us to feel the weight of reality in a way no other platform can and that, I believe, will not change.

Susana Montoya Quinchia

Tell us about yourself as an artist? I’ve always wanted to be a dancer because I express myself physically the best. However, theater is the medium that I found and loved the quickest for the quantity of powerful stories that it represented. However, that didn’t change my leniency to physical interpretation of theatrical plays. Due to that, I found clowning and stage combat which I ended up pursuing further. My favorite works of art generally fall under the umbrella term of comedies primarily for their ability to comment on heavy material in ways that invite the audience to experience them differently.

How valuable is live theatre as a platform of current (world) events?
The majority of theater goers are either theater artists or the older generations that reside in higher tax brackets. Many times, this generation is one that is difficult to reach when talking about current world events. Therefore, theater can be a wonderful outlet to at least present points of view that those generations aren’t usually exposed to in their day to day lives. Having difficult conversations with the older generations is vital to attempt a united nation where no matter how diverse it is, there is at least respect for each other’s differences, as opposed to apathy which we see in the uninformed.

Paula Aliya (Burgess)

Tell us about yourself as an artist?
My Name is Paula and i’m a multifacited artist who gravitates towards work that forwards the progressive narrative for WOC and Femme identifying POC. As an artist I also find that true humanity can be found in moments of laughter and Gut wrenching honesty. I believe art without activism is not art, and my purpose within art is to make others feel seen.

How valuable is live theatre as a platform of current (world) events?
Theater has and always will be the taste makers of change. Theater not only holds a mirror up to our own societal flaws but it also shows a piercing light into what the future can look like. Live theater is a place for all people who experience the hurt of our world to be seen, heard, celebrated, and Freed. We must all pay attention to what the beautiful live theater world comes up with these next few years. After the rain comes a renaissance! 

Toney Brown (the play’s Director)

Tell us about yourself as an artist? As a director, I like working on thought provoking plays that are both complex and deeply human. When Alex sent me his script, it checked off both boxes, and I knew I had to direct it. 

Did anything in this play “hit home” for you? Definitely! When I first moved to NYC, I had a crappy low-wage paying desk job. My co-worker was none other than playwright Alex Perez. We often wax poetic about being scheduled for obscure hours, dealing with crazy customers for little pay, and the extreme difficulty securing time off. I was only working there for 5 months before I got a new job but I honestly felt like 5 years. 

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