“Fred” is a new theatrical work being currently playing at Dixon Place through April 1, 2017. “Fred” is a science-fiction comedy about a robot with origins as a pool vacuum who must keep its inventor’s comatose widow alive. “Fred” works for the family for over two-hundred years before deciding that they need a chance and subsequently moves them to a retirement home…located on a space station that orbits Pluto. In this new futuristic location, something stirs in the old widow. Recently, playwright Christopher Ford discussed his experiences working on the show and his forthcoming project.


Blasting News (BN): What primarily inspired you to get into theater?

Christopher Ford (CF): In 1994 my mom took me out of Ms. Josovitz’s class to see my childhood idol, Rosie O’Donnell, in a Wednesday matinee of Grease on Broadway—I’ve been chasing the dragon ever since.

BN: Your most recent work is called "Fred, " and it's a science fiction comedy about a robot. How did you come up with this unique idea?

CF: When my writing partner/emergency contact Dakota Rose and I sat down to write “Fred” we were tossing around a few different ideas. We really wanted to do something in outer space, but the outer space of the past—back when space ships had carpet, nd you smoked in orbit, and Pluto was a planet.

We also wanted to write a play about a family band and an old folks home. FRED is all that.

BN: What's your favorite thing about “Fred”? What do you hope that audiences will take away from it?

CF: Robots and aliens and senior citizens dance the Paso Doble choreographed by our wonderful choreographer Chloe Kernaghan. That’s really great.

They also sing synth covers of 70’s easy listening arranged by the brilliant Andrew Butler. That’s great too. But I think my favorite part of “Fred” is the relationship that Derek Smith and Shannon Holt, the actors portraying the Robot and his inventor’s widow, have found. The show, at its heart, is a story about a child having to say goodbye to a parent and I hope that the audience walks away with that feeling of love.

BN: How did you come to work with Dixon Place? What's it like to stage work there?

CF: We did a twenty-minute works-in-progress showing of a dance theatre piece at Dixon three years ago. It was such a good experience that we did another one and then another. Those twenty minute showings eventually became the Jerry Wolfert plays, which Dixon so graciously co-produced. Doing work at Dixon Place is always a joy. Ellie and Co. have created a home where everything seems possible, nothing is off limits and most importantly artists feel safe to experiment.


BN: What have been some of the most rewarding things about being involved in the theater industry?

CF: My favorite thing about doing theater is meeting weird, cool people who are passionate about what they do and then getting the opportunity to make weird, cool things with them.

BN: What would you say is the “project of your dreams”?

CF: Dakota and I have been dreaming about our production of Weill and Brecht’s "Mahogany," staged in a public pool complete with Catamarans and a 50 piece moog orchestra since we were 19. So, there’s that. If anyone has pull with the Weill estate and/or connections to the Kozusko public pool in Bed-Stuy, give me a buzz.

BN: What advice would you give to a person who is aspiring to become a playwright?

CF: I’m still working on it myself but I think the one thing I’ve learned is that you have to love the stuff you make. The minute you stop loving the work you make is the minute you stop creating.