I've always had this secret dream of one day getting to select music for a feature film or TV series. How cool would it be to be the person who decided that the most pivotal scene in The Americans' finale should be set to U2's "With Or Without You" or that Nena's "99 Luftballons" would lend unexpected tension to Boogie Nights?
This past year, I was lucky enough to get to do just that on my friend and colleague's debut feature film, Addict Named Hal. Alongside co-Music Coordinator Elise Peterson, we sourced friends, random acquaintances, and musicians we loved to find the perfect sounds for Hal's unique, heartbreaking, and ultimately empowering story. It was so cool to play a small part in bringing the film to fruition and build our own little soundtrack.
Addict Named Hal is currently making its rounds on the festival circuit, and you'll hopefully be able to check it out at a theater near you in the near future. Read more about it at the official website.
It's been a long time in the making, but my first nonfiction book, Radiohead FAQ, is now available through Rowman & Littlefield! I received my copy in the mail yesterday, and it's pretty wild to finally be able to hold it in my hands. Here's a summary!
No band in recent history has divided listeners' opinions as much as Radiohead. Are they the Beatles of the twenty-first century, or is their music just pretentious, overly melancholic, and sometimes boring? Musician, pop-culture critic, and playwright Dan Caffrey wasn't always a Radiohead fan, but that all changed one Chicago winter, when he suddenly found their album In Rainbows to be a welcome source of sonic warmth. An extension of Caffrey's deep but often cautious love for the band, Radiohead FAQ presents a fittingly sideways look at what he's dubbed "the world’s most famous cult band."
Inside these pages, readers will find the essentials of the Radiohead story—along with deep dives into seldom explored topics, from the humor surrounding the band's music to the numerous hip-hop artists who have sampled their songs. Each chapter is devoted to a band member plus their producer and "sixth member" Nigel Godrich, revealing comprehensive biographical details about each person. The end result is a book custom made for casual Radiohead fans and obsessives alike—filled with little known facts, new ways of looking at their music, and, like any music book worth its salt, maddening opinions.
You can also buy it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books (my personal fave), or wherever else books are sold. I'm really proud of it, and if you're into music-nerd tomes like I am, I hope you'll check it out.
I'll soon have lots of other exciting news to share about the summer and beyond, so stay tuned!
I've mentioned it here before, but back in Chicago, I was part of a wonderful, since-dearly departed theatre company called The Ruckus. From that sprung a reading series called [REDACTED]. Essentially, playwrights would take a movie they simultaneously adored and found ridiculous, then insert their own commentary into the script, alongside actors performing their own (intentionally) overblown interpretations of the roles.
Although The Ruckus shuttered its doors in 2016, [REDACTED] found a new life at the historic Music Box Theatre and continues to this day. One of the last things I did before I left the city was write my own [REDACTED] of I Know What You Did Last Summer.
And this Monday, we're back! Virtually, of course. As much as we'd love to perform again at the Music Box, the pandemic has moved us over to online for the time being. Tune in at this link on December 14th, 7 p.m. CST for Zoom Actually: a reading of Love Actually via Twitch. Bring your tissues, secretly-bought necklaces, and weird opening lines about 9/11!
My ASMR channel, SLAYsmr, has gotten its first bit of press!
In October, I donned a trench coat, gave myself a really bad haircut, and took on the iconic role of Dr. Samuel Loomis from the Halloween series for an admittedly out-there roleplay. The idea was that I'm interviewing serial killer Michael Myers as a young boy, only to realize mid-session that he's evil.
One of my favorite horror sites around, Daily Dead, was kind enough to feature my ASMR roleplay in their Horror Highlights section. Check out the blurb here and watch the video below—as long as ASMR is your thing. And I totally understand if it's not!
Back in May, I was commissioned by Mixily Presents to write a new short play for Zoom. This led my wife, Susan Myburgh, and I to create "Slime Season," which finds an ASMRtist struggling to find inspiration during one of her livestreams in the middle of a pandemic. It was such a rewarding experience, and the good folks at Mixily were kind enough to feature me in their Artist Spotlight on their website, where I discuss my preferred pandemic anthem, what it's like being an artist in the time of COVID, and more. Check it out here and (re?)watch "Slime Season" here!
As we all patiently wait for live theatre to return as we once knew it, it's always nice to get a little publicity. So a huge, heartfelt thank-you is in order for 3Views On Theater, who showcased the work of my graduating class and I this week. Click here to read more about we, the UT Austin MFA Playwrights of 2020. I'm hoping the next step will be reading about actual productions of our work (once it's safe, of course). I love all of these people as humans and artists and I miss them dearly, so this was a real honor. I've also listed out the individual links below Enjoy!
Paul William Kruse
This has been a long time coming, and the prolonged stasis of COVID has inspired me to finally pull the trigger. I started an ASMR channel!
I call it SLAYsmr, and each week finds me talking (whispering) about a different horror movie I love. The first episode is up and naturally focuses on my favorite horror film (and favorite film) of all time, 1978's Halloween. I'm still figuring out how to make this sucker look and sound as good as possible, but I'm pretty happy with this first attempt. I'll upload a new video every Monday night at midnight.
Check out the channel at the below link. And I usually never say this about the things I create, but I hope it puts you to sleep!
I'll have more information at a later date, but I'll be developing a script this summer through The Orchard Project's Liveness Lab! TOP started the Lab in the wake of COVID-19 as a means of what liveness and community look like in the current moment. I was lucky enough to be brought on board by Liz Fisher—the incredible director of Sow and Suckling—and equally incredible playwright TJ Young. You can (and should) read all of TJ's work over at the New Play Exchange. I recommend starting with Lyon's Den.
So what's this play/web series/hybrid narrative about? I can't say just yet, but know that it involves ghosts, augmented reality, and live magic—yep, we have a magician—courtesy of Patrick Terry. There are also a slew of other mind-blowing artists involved who I'm so lucky to be working with for the first time.
Like I said, there will be more things to share later and hopefully a tangible presentation or two. In the meantime, it's been nice to have something to work on week to week with the team. Read more about the Liveness Lab here!
On Friday, June 26th, at 7 p.m., The Amphibians will have a virtual Zoom reading as part of Kitchen Dog Theater's 22nd Annual New Works Festival!
Back in Chicago, one of my longstanding artistic homes was The Ruckus. Man, do I miss those folks. Anyway, in 2015, they produced a kickass play by Matt Lyle called Barbecue Apocalypse, which had premiered at Kitchen Dog the year before. So I was hearing great things about them before I ever moved to Texas, and have wanted to work with them for a while now. It's an honor to get to do so right on the cusp of another move.
The reading will be directed by the great Libby Hawkins, with performances by Dakota Ratliff, Bwayla Chisanga, and John Garrard. Tickets are FREE and can be reserved at KDT's website. And while you're at it, check out the other fantastic plays that are part of the festival.
A HUGE thanks to Kitchen Dog Theater for keeping this opportunity going and giving their artists work, even as we can't be in the same room together to watch it. Hope to see you there!
I'm so excited to announce that The Amphibians is a Finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference! Because there's no in-person festival this year, it automatically advances to being a Finalist for 2021, so it'll still be under consideration for next year's festival as well.
This script means a lot to me, as it deals with climate change, features a giant animal, is kind of about our two nieces, and takes place in the woods of New Port Richey, Florida, where I grew up. Check out all the other incredible Finalists here, including my UT colleague Jaymes Sanchez and his killer play The Cucuy Will Find You. And if you want to know more about The Amphibians, explore the show link, its New Play Exchange profile, or just hit me up!
I'll have some more exciting updates about the play in the coming days. A huge thank-you to the O'Neill for considering my work and taking such good care of their artists!