Interview with Ben Holbrook and Nate Weida

Ben and Nate are the creators of The Church of the First Order of Cloud City's Inaugural Unity Jamboree

What are you most excited about in bringing your work to the FGP Festival?

BH: Being able to show our process in the type of welcoming, thoughtful, and inquisitive environment that’s so unique to FGP.

NW: I’ve been trying to play with church services for awhile. I think Ben and I have finally cracked something. Is that a good thing? Do people say that? Anyhow, I’m happy to be bringing something that I’ve been thinking seriously about for years and have arrived making it absurd and wonderful with Ben. 

Send us an image that describes or represents your artistic process

Who are some of your art heroes?

BH: David Bowie, Neil Gaiman, Julie Dash, Wong Kar Wai, Shinichiro Watanabe, Sarah Ruhl, Hayao Miyazaki, Bobby Womack, Madeline Miller, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler...

NW: These days Herman Melville, Valeria Luiselli, Anne Carson, Ali Smith, Maggie Nelson, Franz Kafka, The Assembly, Micah Bucey, Salty Brine.

What is a highlight of your process with FGP this past year?

BH: Anytime I got to listen to the work of my fellow artists. I left every meeting feeling renewed and excited to be creating work with such incredible people. It made me want to push my own ideas further. Also hearing Nate’s music. It’s just so, so wonderful to listen to. I also would have to include Nate and I’s brainstorming sessions, which would often go as far out as you possibly can with a scenario before we’d shrug and say “eh, we’ll see.”

NW: Definitely the diversity of pieces. Spending an evening with a play, a parade, a clown show, a cocktail party game, a nutso french history play, a trauma ghost story. Each one inspiring me in different ways with extraordinary support from their creators.

Oh no, your process is showing! What's your artistic process guilty pleasure? Or what's the thing you do that you don't want to tell us?

BH: Experimentation on the audience. I’m such a creep for it, but I love throwing things into pieces just to see what effect it will have and then observing people’s experiences. If you feel like you’re being experimented on, you probably are.

NW: Typically, my process is pretty regimented. I wake up early and drink coffee and read for a couple hours. When I’m amply percolated and filled with words and ideas, I race to transfer all of this into a sort of music or lyrical form…before I come down from the caffeine high. The guilty pleasure is taking the nap first, and then doing the work. Perhaps that’s what I don’t want to tell you. That I procrastinate.  

What other events in the FGP Festival are you really excited about?

BH: All of them. No joke. The work everyone has been doing is outstanding and I’m following all of it (starting with this festival) until they all have full productions.

NW: Impossible to not list them all. OK, Showomanship, ahhh! That’s the one. Agh, and The Parade Ground. And no no, all of them, sorry, I should have stuck with all of it.


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