Featured Member: Small Pond Entertainment
New York-based Small Pond Entertainment is an emerging theatre arts organization that was started five years ago by artistic director Michael Roderick when he found that it was virtually impossible for an artist to be at their best when they also had to produce. In this interview with Fractured Atlas, Michael elaborates on his organization's mission, tells us what's ahead, and explains what goes into making a "Hot Cripple"...
Michael, tell us more about Small Pond Entertainment's mission and work.
Small Pond Entertainment seeks to help artists who are developing work by providing producing services, enabling the artist to focus on their art. We assist the artist by general managing the production, helping to find donors, and helping them budget. We do this while teaching the artist all about producing so that they can go on and do it themselves someday.
What has been your greatest success to date?
I would have to say this summer's sold-out productions: "Sleeper" at Manhattan Theatre Source, "The Director's Reality" at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, and "Hot Cripple".
Tell us more about "Hot Cripple": How did it come about?
"Hot Cripple" came from a chance meeting with the writer/actress Hogan Gorman at an after party for another show we produced, "Liberty and Joe DiMaggio". Hogan told me that she had a story and she'd eventually be looking for a producer. She emailed me when it got accepted into FringeNYC, but her invite ended up getting buried under a mountain of other emails. Luckily, a mutual friend forwarded me her need for a producer the day before the paperwork was due and she came running down to the school where I work and signed me on.
It seems that with "Hot Cripple" you really accomplished your mission of providing production assistance so that artists can better focus on their art: at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival, the one-woman show garnered actor/playwright Hogan Gorman the festival's Overall Excellence Award for "Outstanding Actor".
What did you expect (or want) your audience to experience during the performance and to take away after they leave?
My hope for the piece was that the story would get the audience talking about the current U.S. healthcare system and open up a dialogue about how poorly people are treated when they don't have health insurance. I like finding really good stories that get people to talk.
You've been a member of Fractured Atlas since 2004. How did you find out about our organization? What motivated you to become a member?
A friend of mine was running a theatre company called Prophecy Productions, which was a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas. He explained to me how fiscal sponsorship worked and I went on the website to check it out. When I saw how informative the site was and how much support the organization provided, I decided to sign up then and there.
"...to lead people to ask questions. To challenge the norm and refute the dominant ideology. The artist is there to turn on the lights when it's hard to see the art."
Who or what are your biggest influences?
Our biggest influences come from the theatre community, the public, Playwrights Horizons, Ken Davenport, as well as many other companies and producers.
What's next on Small Pond Entertainment's horizon?
We are currently running a monthly comedy series that splits all proceeds with indie theatre companies; I am currently writing a blog for people interested in producing on the ground level; and we have a show coming up in January 2009 called "Dead Pan", which is also quite thought-provoking. And we continue to help as many artists as we can with networking events and development opportunities.
How can we read/experience/learn more about you and your organization's work?
Top: Michael Roderick, Artistic Director, Small Pond Entertainment. Photo by Erica Singleton.
Middle: Promo image for "Hot Cripple". Hogan Gorman, Playwright, Actor.
Bottom: Images from "Proof by Disproof" (July 2006). Pictured: Craig Anthony Grant, Christopher Beier (top) and Nell Casey.