Quinn Armstrong is an actor, writer, filmmaker and Cornish grad. You might have seen him in last summer’s An Evening of One Acts at ACT or most recently in Slip/Shot at Seattle Public Theatre last fall. His work as a playwright is currently on display with Zapoi! at Annex Theatre, running through February 21.
Armstong is a multi-talented creator with some of the most eclectic, beguiling tastes I’ve come across in these Five Friday Questions. He joined me for this week’s installment.
What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?
You will hear talk in your life about people like Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis and how they’re good actors because of all their emotions, and that’s cool. But there’s a bit in the original Halloween where Michael Myers is hiding behind a tree waiting to murder someone and you see his hand kinda stroking the trunk, very tenderly. You can tell the actor doesn’t even know he’s doing it. It is a true and real thing that monsters, fictional or otherwise, are usually people who want to love but don’t know how.
Also, Peter Crook is a human acting machine of incredible power.
What’s the best meal in Seattle?
I’m more into candy than actual, for real food. There used to be this candy called Kazoozles which were magic, but I guess didn’t sell that great. They went away but they’re back at the Regal downtown in these big eight-packs and so help me God I will see that those things sell if I have to buy every one of them myself, like Mark Driscoll with his book.
What music gets you pumped up? What do you listen to when you’re sad?
There is no better sad music than Schubert’s Winterreise. It’s a song cycle, kind of like a concept album about this dude who’s kicked out by his intended and he wanders around Germany in winter, pointing at bodies of water and saying “That body of water is like my feelings, ‘cause it’s frozen on top, but underneath it’s still flowing.”
As for pump-up, I’ve gotten way into Pig Destroyer lately. An occupational hazard with liking death metal and grindcore is you have to check that you’re not supporting crazy racists, but these guys are really smart and awesome and the lead singer is way into Baudelaire, which is perfect since death metal is a lot like Baudelaire: its grotesqueness and ugliness is just a front for its tiny, tender heart.
Also for pump-up: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who is kinda Japan’s Lady Gaga. Check out her music videos. Her imagery is incomprehensible, but the logic underneath it is ruthless.
Do you “treat yourself” to anything special after a show closes?
One of the downsides of having no self control is that it’s hard to make days special. I usually go buy books, I guess. My post-Zapoi! haul was: Carol J. Clover’s Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities and Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet.
What’s the most useful thing anyone’s ever taught you about working in theatre?
It’s not a level playing field out there. If (like me) you benefit from inequality, it’s important to keep working to develop your awareness of issues facing women and people of color in the theatre community (and the world in general) and do what you can to help.
Is there any space left? Can I say a thing? Theater people: bring back preshow curtains! Nothing kills the magic of a beautiful set like staring at it for half an hour before the show starts.