Writers Theatre: If each member of PigPen Theatre Co. had a job title, what would yours be?
Curtis Gillen: I guess my job title would be the Count of Cool. Or the Sultan of Sexy… but realistically you could call me “The Trampoline.” The guys throw ideas my way and I bounce them back – adding my own flair and lifting them perhaps a little higher/goofier/grander than they imagined. I get excited really easily, and when a good idea comes my way I really can make it soar.
WT: What’s your favorite myth, folktale, or fairytale?
Curtis: My favorite myth is the tale of the Green Man Tunnel. It’s more of an urban legend I grew up hearing from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. The story goes there was worker that was struck by a falling power line from a nearby trolley track and was severely disfigured. He lived in an abandoned house near the tunnel. He was disfigured and would stalk the surrounding lands. People spoke of cars mysteriously turning off by themselves and seeing a glowing green figure approaching. Turns out the myth was based on an actual man who as a child was disfigured by falling onto trolley tracks and lived in the area. He would walk around only at night for fear of ridicule from his neighbors. People would drive at night for the chance to take a glimpse of “Charlie No-Face” taking his nightly walks.
WT: What play has had the greatest impact on you?
Curtis: Australian theater company Suitcase Royale toured their show Chronicles of a Sleepless Moon in 2007 and I had a chance to see it while at school. It changed everything for me. Their original style of storytelling, live music, and junkyard, found-object charm opened my eyes to a style of theater I never thought possible.
WT: What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Curtis: When I was 6 my mom was leaving to work a night shift and my aunt came over to watch my sister and me. I remember very distinctly that I didn’t want my aunt to watch me that evening so I hatched a plan. After my mom kissed me goodbye, I quietly snuck out the back door, ran around to the front of the house where my mom was parked, and hopped into the trunk of the van and hid. My mom drove all the way to work, parked and got out before I even popped my head up to see where I was. Back home my aunt started to panic because I was missing so she called my mom at work. While on the phone with my aunt, my mom looked outside at the car and saw me sitting in the van alone. Suffice to say she was quite angry with me.
Remember you can catch Curtis on stage in The Old Man and The Old Moon now playing at our 325 Tudor Court location!