Call Answered: Lauren Maul: "Bucolic" at Judson Memorial Church
When I heard about Lauren Maul’s new musical Bucolic, I was so intrigued by its concept, subject matter & the fact that the musical features fellow “Call Me Adam” participant Michael Harren.
Bucolic features true tales and feel-good music with all of your local Nebraskan favorites, including coach/priest Father John, Pam Dowd - the #1 Realtor in the Murder-Suicide House Market, Laura Smalls - a surviving member of the 4th grade class, and many more! Orange drink and animal crackers will be provided. Starring Michael Harren, Lady Kate Weber, Kiirstin Marilyn, Tim Girrbach, Tahlia Robinson, and Jenn Wehrung.
Bucolic will play at The Assembly Room at Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson Street) from May 4-28. Tickets are $20 and only available at the door on the night of the performance. Doors open 30 minutes before showtime and seating is limited.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer/performer? I grew up Catholic and wasn't exposed to a lot of art or theater - but watching the priests at Church talk into a microphone filled me with an intense longing to jump up on that stage, grab the microphone out of their hands and put on a much better show.
2. This May, your show, Bucolic is being presented at Judson Memorial Church. What are you looking forward to most about this run? My sister is coming to opening night and my parents are coming to the last show of the run and I can't wait for them to see it. They know all the stories (since they lived them too) and they've heard the songs while I was writing them over the years but now they get to see a full cast bring those stories to life.
3. What should audiences know about this show prior to attending? It's based on true stories from my hometown but names and details have been changed.
4. What excites you about having this show staged as an immersive experience? The performers sing to the audience as though they are in the scene with them which makes the show seem like an intimate living room performance which I love.
5. What challenges do you think it will present? Audience members may want to respond and talk back during the show which could be interesting...In New York everyone's got something to say so I'm used to performances being interrupted with people expressing themselves.
6. The show is a musical about a rash of crimes, including murder. What other crimes do you cover? Stalking, assault, and domestic abuse - things that most communities have to deal with, unfortunately.
7. Which crime was the easiest one to write about? It's incredibly challenging to turn true crime stories into comedic songs while still being respectful to the dead. With each story I had to ask myself "would the deceased or their families be offended or hurt by this?" I even sent the script to my parents, who still live in my hometown, just to make sure they didn't find anything offensive. I normally don't do that with my art but since these stories are so personal to my town and to my family I wanted to tell those stories in the most respectful way possible.
8. Which one gave you the most trouble? There was an assault that happened to a classmate of mine and at the time no one realized it was an assault - everyone (including teachers) just called it "boys being boys". But since looking back and telling the story to others I've realized that what happened to that classmate was assault and everyone involved (including myself, who witnessed it and didn't say anything) was accountable.
9. If you could commit any crime you write about, which one do you think you could pull off the best? Stalking...and who's to say that I didn't already pull it off??? [cackles with maniacal laughter]
10. Since the audience gets to eat animal crackers, what's your favorite animal in the box? The ones with the most legs because they take the longest to eat, piece by piece. (That sounds more violent than I intended...)
More on Lauren:
Lauren Maul was raised in Nebraska, studied theater at the University of San Diego, trained as an improviser in Chicago, and currently performs in New York. A "bit-maker" by trade, Lauren creates music, films, puppets, stand-up routines and other things that usually involve glitter. In 2014, Lauren created the viral Tumblr "You're Gonna Die Here", which features photos of terrifying AirBnB rentals. In 2016, Amazon Reviews: The Musical! (the musical web series she created) was named one of the best web series of the year by IndieWire and Lauren was named one of the "50 Funniest People in Brooklyn" by Brooklyn Magazine. In 2017, Lauren created the critically acclaimed "Apologies from Men" and the live concert was recommended by the NY Times. Her writing has appeared in places like BUST magazine, The Frisky, Splitsider, Merry Jane, and Reductress. You can catch her producing/hosting "Bitchcraft!" and "Gathering the Coven" about town - plus a monthly sing along for senior citizens through New York Cares. She's also a teacher at The Peoples Improv Theater and her character Marilyn Summers is known to frequent the popular gameshow "The Cabaret Showdown."