PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes Writers Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond

By Sophia Saifi
06 Jul 2013

Cast member Hunter Foster

Question: Which movies?

Dimond: We were looking mostly for examples of movies that have fantastical worlds that were crystallized very simply and the audience were able to hop on board with it and believe, even though they were absurd and highly unrealistic. We watched a lot Charlie Kaufman's movies.

Kooman: "Adaptation."

Dimond: "Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind," "Being John Malkovich", "The Truman Show".

Question: Did you have a discussion about which direction you would take this musical? What genre it would fall under?

Kooman: That was one of the most important parts. Before we even started writing, we had a very long conversation about what kind of show this was going to be. It took us a long time to write the musical aspect of it. There stractually a couple of different worlds we ended up going through. We talk a lot before we start writing, just to figure out that we're on the same page. We weren't uniform in our ideas. It took a lot of arguing.

Question: What did you guys argue about?

Kooman: There were some envelope-pushing humor moments and that was some of our arguing: How far we could we go with this. We've hopefully opened it up that we can go pretty far, because we do go pretty far.

Question: It had never been watched before a live audience, except for the one time you had a specifically-invited audience.

Kooman: Ever since we were here in a different capacity, we have been dreaming of coming back. It is an amazing place to be and an amazing place to workshop. Not just because of its reputation but because it actually is a wonderful place to see the audience rewrite and make another change.

The O'Neill was one of the first places, if not the first place, where we sent the script and the score, other than those private reads. 

Question: Saturday was packed!

Kooman: Yea for comedy its great to have a large audience because more people will laugh and it is more contagious.

Question: I noticed that mid-show you (Michael) got up and walked away! Why was that? Were you nervous?

Kooman: I had eight iced teas for dinner and my bladder was full.

Question: Someone mentioned that you were very agitated, and that's why you left!

Kooman: No it was literally me not being smart and drinking too much liquid. I was in all honesty really nervous which is why I was dropping those iced teas down. I was really excited to be there and the actors blew it away, considering the first run through was only two hours before.