Sibling Rivalry On Stage: The Moscows Of Nantucket (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Sibling Rivalry on Stage: The Moscows of Nantucket

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:50:26
Before we say goodbye today, let's turn to one of the most legendary rivalries of them all, sibling rivalry. Jealousy, envy, concern that your brother or sister is getting more of your parents' attention. Worried that your sister or brother will outdo you academically, athletically, professionally. Sibling rivalry is an age-old theme.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:50:49
And here in D.C. we're seeing that theme brought to modern-day life on the stage in a world-premiere play at Theater J. "The Moscows of Nantucket" is the latest comedy by Sam Foreman, who premiered another play at Theater J last year, "The Rise And Fall of Annie Hall," which was about a writer's passion to turn the famous Woody Allen movie into a musical.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:51:08
Foreman's newest play also focuses on a writer, in this case, Benjamin Moscow. He's moved in with his parents in Nantucket after a spell of really bad luck back home in Brooklyn. Things get heated when his older brother, Michael, comes to visit with his gorgeous, new blond girlfriend in tow.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:51:27
I recently attended a rehearsal of "The Moscows of Nantucket," which opens this weekend and I had a chance to sit down with the actors portraying the two brothers, Michael Glenn, who plays Michael and James Flanagan, who plays Benjamin.

MR. JAMES FLANAGAN

13:51:39
Well, you have a younger brother who found success fairly early in life, I guess his early 20s. He came into his own as a writer and then going from 20s to 30s sort of lost a lot of that momentum and a lot of that success.

BENJAMIN MOSCOW

13:51:52
Man, this has really not been a good year for me.

MRS. MOSCOW

13:51:54
I know, sweetheart. I just don't know what we can do for you. If you had wanted to go into banking, your father could've put you in touch with the Milligan people. But we just don't know anyone in the literary world.

MOSCOW

13:52:04
No, just think it's always a little tough when Michael's here, you know?

MOSCOW

13:52:07
Yes, well, you've got a lot going for you that he can't even come close to.

MOSCOW

13:52:11
Yes, like what? That there were three stories of mine in "The Atlanta Monthly" more than 10 years ago. And now I only get published in online journals that nobody ever reads. I mean, does that seem like a good trajectory to you?

FLANAGAN

13:52:23
And then you have the older brother, Michael, who had sort of the opposite journey. If you want to talk about that?

MR. MICHAEL GLENN

13:52:28
It's sort of a harder uphill struggle for him. Benjy, the younger brother, spent a lot of time in New York on the East Coast. Michael, my character, moved West to live in California, to pursue a film career and started in, essentially the mailroom interning on "Doogie Howser" and then sort of moved his way up through the sort of Hollywood ranks. And now, he has a very successful sitcom, which his girlfriend that he brings home is one of the stars on. So he's sort of achieved an insane amount of success now, just as Benjy's truck has sort of plummeted and he's now living at home. So this collision has sort of shaken up the brother dynamic a little bit.

MOSCOW

13:53:11
Well, I'm the slightly surreal, noncommercial one in the family. He doesn't make any money, but he sure can say some silly stuff.

MOSCOW

13:53:17
Benjy, could you stop goofing around for one second? I want to hear Michael's good news.

MICHAEL MOSCOW

13:53:22
All right. You probably already know this if you really followed the entertainment industry.

MOSCOW

13:53:26
See, he thinks we don't know anything about pop culture, Virginia, but it's not true. I happen to read "U.S. Weekly" all the time.

MOSCOW

13:53:32
Benjy, nobody's trying to insult you okay. I just didn't know if you were aware that the Emmy nominations came out today. That's all I was saying.

MOSCOW

13:53:37
Of course, I knew that Michael. I mean, how can you call yourself a human being and not know the precise date when the Emmy nominations come out?

MOSCOW

13:53:43
Cool. So, then I guess you most know what happened with our show?

MOSCOW

13:53:48
Well, no, I mean, I didn't really study the list of nominee's. Why, did you get one?

MOSCOW

13:53:52
Well, yes, we got 12 actually.

MOSCOW

13:53:55
That's fantastic.

MOSCOW

13:53:57
Thank you. We are pretty (unintelligible) about it.

FLANAGAN

13:53:58
Actually, strangely enough, I have a brother who sort of went into filmmaking and he is, strangely enough, with a woman who is an actress in one of his films. He lives in Los Angeles. His name is Michael. It's really close to this.

FLANAGAN

13:54:13
Except that, yes, we've never actually had that sense of rivalry, you know, maybe in high school because we overlapped by a year but once we split paths and sort of--he went to the West Coast and I stayed in the East. After that it was all just really respect for the mountain that the other one was attempting to climb that we knew nothing about. But that's not quite what happens in this play.

MOSCOW

13:54:35
Well, congratulations. That's so exciting. And while we're on the subject, Benjy actually got some good news today, too, or should I say it's potentially good news. So we're all keeping our fingers crossed.

MOSCOW

13:54:49
Mom, they just got nominated for 12 Emmy Awards. I think that's kind of a bigger deal than me getting one encouraging email about this writer's colony.

VIRGINIA

13:54:56
Dude, what's a writer's colony?

MOSCOW

13:54:58
Well, it's nothing. It's just this place for a bunch of failures sitting around, wishing they could get a stipend.

FLANAGAN

13:55:03
Yes, it's a much different thing. I think there's a bigger age gap for these two, for example. It seems that they didn't overlap.

GLENN

13:55:09
The different parental dynamic. I mean, I think, you know, I can't -- I only met your parents once, but I can't see that you had anything remotely similar to what Ellen and Richard have put these two boys through.

FLANAGAN

13:55:20
Very much so. And I think that there's a -- it's almost like you can sort of tell that Benjamin is much more Ellen's child and Michael is much more Richard's child. That these are -- in a way, these kids and their sort of successes and their failures are not something that the parents use to battle against each other.

FLANAGAN

13:55:36
I do think the parents would like to see both children successful and happy, but I think the parents have different things invested in these kids and in their success. I think Ellen would be, as focused as she on appearances and maintaining appearances, to have the child that resembles her most being the least successful has this sort of -- be a sticking point.

MOSCOW

13:55:54
Right. Well, he's making fun of me now, but he was telling us before that this is actually a very prestigious thing that he's applying for.

MOSCOW

13:56:01
Well, cool, man, I hope that works out for you.

MOSCOW

13:56:04
Come on, Michael. Don't shake my hand. Mom's creepy stress counselor keeps telling her we need to learn how to express ourselves physically.

MOSCOW

13:56:11
I'm sorry, Benjy, what do you want me to do here? Shall I tribute you in song? (singing) Congratulations to you, congratulations to you, you got a nice email.

MOSCOW

13:56:19
(singing) You're hideous to me, can't you see?

FLANAGAN

13:56:25
And I guess this is kind of a play that -- well, what do you expect from your family and what do you feel that they owe you? And I think that, in terms of Benjamin at least, if there's a lesson that he learns in the play, it's exactly how much you can ask of them and how much they truly owe you, versus how much they just love you and maybe that's all that you are owed.

SHEIR

13:56:44
That was James Flanagan and Michael Glenn, now appearing in "The Moscows of Nantucket" at Theater J. For more information on the show and to see photos of the cast, visit our website, metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

13:57:20
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Bryan Russo, David Schultz, Kavitha Cardoza, Sabri Ben-Achour and Jonathan Wilson, along with reporter, Emily Friedman. Jim Acendio is our new director. Our managing producer is Tara Boyle.

SHEIR

13:57:35
Thanks to Tobey Schreiner, Jonathon Charry, Andrew Chadwick, Margo Kelly, Timmy Olmstead and Kelin Quigley for their production help and to Dana Farrington and the WAMU digital media team for keeping our website up-to-date. And a warm welcome to our new intern, Lauren Landow. We're delighted to have you aboard, Lauren. Our theme song, ''Every Little Bit Hurts'' and our ''Door To Door'' theme "No Girl" are from the album “Title Tracks” by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. Visit our website, metroconnection.org, for a list of all the music we use.

SHEIR

13:58:05
And while you're there, you can find links to our Facebook page and Twitter feed. You can subscribe to our free weekly podcasts and you can send an email by clicking the contact link. We hope you can join us next Friday afternoon at 1:00 and Saturday morning at 7:00 when we pay respects to our elders. From a native Washingtonian who's still teaching ballet at the tender age of 93, to the struggles of low-income seniors in the District.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1

13:58:31
People say a dime or a quarter or something like that should not be significant, but it is.

SHEIR

13:58:36
I'm Rebecca Sheir and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 news.
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