Making its premiere at the Hollywood Fringe tomorrow is Chris Murphy’s solo show, The Pale Gypsy’s Traveling Musical Revue. He describes it as a balm for the troubled soul after all the shit we’ve been through over the past few years. ArtsBeat LA reached out to him to get some more details about the intriguing Pale Gypsy.
Tell us about the origins of this piece.
The Traveling Musical Revue is the result of my desire as a writer to create a variety show that has a strong musical component, and has humor based on satire and absurdity, combined with my desire to challenge myself to create a “full show” type of experience as a one man act.
What do you hope audiences will get out of seeing the show?
I suppose if I had to boil it down to one thing, I hope that each member of the audience engages with their imagination to the degree that they become part of the storytelling, much like the experience of reading novel, or listening to a radio show. The power of a good narrative to whisk people away to exciting places as their imaginations fill in what the scene and characters look like, etc, has this incredible affect that leaves us with a refreshed, grounded feeling. That’s what I would like for my audience.
You’ve mentioned that this is a mixture of basic techniques and simple technology. Can you elaborate?
It’s techniques and technology that I’ve observed other solo performers employ, specifically the use of a looper pedal used by the acoustic singer/songwriter type. Then, I saw a guy who was doing that, but he put his guitar down and started singing karaoke style.
So, that sort of gave me permission in my own mind to explore looping live instruments and using pre-recored tracks. So, it’s still really basic stuff, simple looper pedals and an obsolete ipod, just organized in a way that allows me to take on that challenge of creating a full experience for an audience.
What does the Pale Gypsy represent?
The character of the Pale Gypsy represents the spirit of traveling an open road, with all of the freedom and emergent adventure attached, as well as a positive, do-it-yourself attitude.
What’s your background? Are you primarily a musician, a performance artist or a hybrid?
I would definitely have to say a hybrid. As a kid, if anyone had a video camera, we would want to make a video and I was in drama on and off, so the writing and performing came easy enough. The interest and effort in music has always been equal, but my chops have not been! It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to a point where I think my music is stage-worthy.
Is this your first Fringe? How are you enjoying the experience?
Yes, this is my first Fringe, and it’s been awesome! I’m performing at the Wren Theater at the Irish Import Shop managed by Theater Asylum, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer, more supportive group, from Thomas (the venue owner) to Matt Quinn and Bertha Rodriguez at Asylum, to the members of the Fringe staff that I’ve interacted with.
I attended the Fringe Runway last night where folks get to show off their costumes for the show and give some love to the designers, and it was fun! I’m excited to be doing it, for sure!
Since the Fringe is collaborative, what other shows have piqued your interest?
There are quite a few, so I’ll keep it to a reasonable list here. There a several other solo shows that I’m going to see, two of which are at the Wren — The Best Wife Ever by stand-up Cat Alvarado, and Ernest Kearney’s The Great Satan Speaks — The Wisdom of Robert G. Ingersoll. There’s also Queen of Fishtown at the Broadwater that looks really funny and heartfelt, and the solo show that looks most similar to mine is the Too Big For Her Britches at the Zephyr, so I’m definitely going to go support that one. There’s a bunch more, but I’ll spare you!
The Pale Gypsy’s Traveling Musical Revue plays June 3, 11, 19 and 24 at the Wren Theater @ the Irish Import Shop, 742 Vine Street. Tickets can be purchased here.