A Playwright's Thoughts - John Posey on "Father, Son, & Holy Coach"

The talented John Posey was born in Connecticut but moved to Florida, where he was raised, as a young child. He later moved to Oklahoma and Georgia, where he was discovered on stage while doing a comedy routine in Atlanta in the 1980s. Once in Los Angeles, he acted on numerous television shows. His latest recurring acting stints include “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Teen Wolf,” which stars his real-life son Tyler Posey. But from the earliest days of his career, John Posey always enjoyed writing and eventually authored many screenplays. He wrote, produced, and starred in “Legendary,” a coming-of-age drama with Patricia Clarkson and Danny Glover, released in 2010. John Posey returns to his first love, live theater, with an all-new revival of his critically acclaimed comedy, FATHER, SON, & HOLY COACH opening on February 13, 2016 at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. 

John was interviewed on February 13 for his thoughts on FATHER, SON, & HOLY COACH, as well as his current and future plans.

 

John Posey - Photo by Ed Krieger

HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR THE PLAY, FATHER, SON AND HOLY COACH? 

I was living in Atlanta doing comedy, and someone from ABC came up to me and said he wanted me to meet the ABC development people for a possible show. They asked me to do something original lasting four minutes, so I sat down and wrote this. It went well with the ABC guys, and they said there was something deeper about this father and son piece. This skit started at four minutes, and I wrote more and more for the period of a year. It was about the father seeing himself one way and his son seeing things another way, their tug of war over shared ideas. FATHER, SON, & HOLY COACH really came about by accident. I didn’t know much about writing then. I was an actor mostly doing comedy. This short piece got to me, and I realized that I liked to write. Since then, I’ve sold seven or eight screenplays. 

YOU GREW UP IN THE SOUTH AND HAVE TWO SONS OF YOUR OWN. HOW MUCH OF THE SHOW IS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL? 

A lot of the events and people in the show are people and events I experienced directly, or I was close to the situation. It’s almost all real and happened to real people. I see the play as a metaphor for life. It’s a father/son competition that went bad...the son has to break away from dad. That’s true in most families. How a father’s dream may not be what his son wants.

John Posey - Photo by Ed Krieger

 

YOUR SHOW IS ABOUT A TOWN, AND ONE FATHER IN PARTICULAR, WHO ARE OBSESSED WITH FOOTBALL. DOES ONE NEED TO LOVE FOOTBALL TO ENJOY THE SHOW? 

No, that’s the great thing about this. My director is a woman from Toronto, and she doesn’t really know much about our football. This play really asks the universal question about fathers and sons. Women love it; they’re usually rooting for the young boy. It’s about how we define ourselves. Do we see ourselves in the present and future and not the past? Are we stuck on our path, or can we change? My first director was Michael Laskin. He’s from Minnesota, and he said people have the same frenzy about hockey in Minnesota. The play could really be about any sport. 

THE SOUTHERN SETTING IS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF THIS SHOW. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SET IT IN THE SOUTH? 

The Southerners are funny storytellers. I grew up in South Florida. That’s more like New   York. When I went to Atlanta, that was the real South. I was an outsider and saw people in a different way. Even though I was an outsider, I fell in love with the whole Southern environment.

 

John Posey - Photo by Ed Krieger

YOU PLAY A MULTITUDE OF DIFFERENT CHARACTERS IN THIS PLAY, INCLUDING THE ENTIRE TOWN OF TUPELO, GEORGIA. WHAT’S THAT LIKE? ARE YOU EXHAUSTED AT THE END OF THE EVENING? 

I play the entire cast. I’m 20 different people, real people I encountered. Everybody comes through the show, the townspeople, a radio guy, local people and outsiders. In the South, I met a lot of guys who chose to stay in smaller places even when they had the opportunity to move up in their field. They decided to stay as big fish in a small pond, and they liked that and didn’t want to change. 

Playing so many characters is exhausting. Sometimes, before I go on stage, I forget who I am – but not so much as I used to. As I get older, it gets even more tiring. It’s an 84-minute show. You ask yourself, “Why would anyone put himself through this?” Then you realize it’s your skill set, and you can do it. 

I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE BEEN TOURING WITH THIS SHOW. WHAT’S THAT LIKE? WHICH CITIES DID YOU ENJOY? HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK IN LA? 

The touring company got me into the perfect place, the college population. I’ve played in big universities and smaller colleges. It’s a perfect market. They’re younger and laughed at what they thought was funny. If you’re older, you know I’m talking about people in the 1960s and 70s. The play has a 60s and 70s feel to it, but the end is more contemporary. It’s about a lost father trying to find his way. It’s universal, and it’s fun. You tell people who you are for a week or two in each place. It’s really fun to do that. A solo show isn’t that common. It’s gutsy to tell people to watch one man. I found that most grown men and women my age or older tell me that they remember things in their lives from the show. The only reason I stopped going on tour was that my two young boys needed me at home.

 

Tyler Posey and John Posey - Photo by Ed Krieger

I HEAR THAT YOUR FAMILY IS INVOLVED IN SHOW BUSINESS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? 

My son Tyler is the star of “Teen Wolf.” He worked his way up from small roles. My other son is just starting out. He’s still in college and loves pitching for the baseball team. 

I would never have encouraged my sons to go into show business if they weren’t interested in the business. By the time Tyler was seven years old, it was obvious that he was ready. I could tell from the questions he asked. I never pushed either son. You don’t choose show business. It chooses you. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER PROJECTS IN THE WORKS NOW? 

Now that both of my sons are out of the home, I can tour more. And I want to make a film of this show. There’s a full screenplay ready to go, and some people are interested in it. I want to see what we can do with projections. The screen business has changed. Now you operate on a much lower budget. Actors act in something because they can be proud of the material. I have another screenplay ready too. It’s the world of lacrosse. It’s about a school in Nashville where an outsider brings in lacrosse. That would be my next film. I’m making a pilot about an attorney who arranges adoptions. It’s sort of like “Juno” or “Blindside.” And, of course, I’m still acting. I write good stuff, and I want to write more. I’m also teaching scene study at the Gray Studios for kids and young adults. That’s new for me, and I love it.

 

FATHER, SON, & HOLY COACH is a guest production at the Odyssey Theatre located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA90025. It runs through March 20, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $25. For reservations, call 323-960-7724 or go online at www.holycoach.net.

 

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