Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Questions with Philip Peker

Our next playwright from 2013 is Philip Peker.

Philip Peker
11th grade, Livingston Senior HS
1. What inspired you to write Blues-Berries?

Blues-Berries is heavily based on my relationship with my grandparents. In fact, Blues-Berries is quasi-auto-biographical play. Being that I spend the majority of every day with both my grandparents, their ever-presence in my life has really influenced me. My grandma and grandpa are the central inspiration for writing Blues-Berries. 

2. What did you enjoy most about writing this play?

This was the first play I have ever written, so everything felt new and different to me. I really enjoyed seeing the words that I punched out at home by my computer literally come to life on stage. The transition between "written word" and "performed word" is terribly fascinating, especially when the work is your own. However, the thing I most enjoyed about writing this play, is that I continue to "write" this play everyday. The scenes in the play are almost exact replicas of what goes on in real life at the dinner table with my grandparents. Seeing my life acted out by actors on a stage, and then coming back home and seeing almost the exact same things being said by the people that the characters are framed after is a very surreal experience. I guess that's the beauty about writing; you can create parallel universes and different copies of yourself through writing. 

3. In your bio you mention that you are a classically trained guitarist who has delved into other musical genres. What are some of your favorites?

Oh man, well, I listen to practically anything that makes sound. However, for the past few years, I have been heavily vested in the Jazz genre. Every single thing about Jazz is terribly exciting. The spontaneity, the brilliance of the instrumentation, and the rawness of it really make it incredibly appealing to listen to and play. At the moment, my musical interests branch from the Jazz genre. I have started listening to tons of soul, funk, and old-school hip hop, and then also I continue to listen to a lot of classical, world, and gypsy music. I grew up listening to Russian folk music, and so that gave me a huge base for appreciating all types of musical genres. Oh, and dance music can be pretty sweet, if the occasion is right. I can go on for hours talking about music; darn you for asking this question! 

4. You also have a band, Castles, and compose your own music. What kind of music do you play? What musicians or musical movements influence your work?

Ah yes. Well, we tend to play most of our songs as "jams," and keep them as raw and natural as possible. As genres go, however, we tend be categorized as progressive or math rock. We incorporate tons of different styles, from hard rock/blues, to jazz and funk. For us, music is whatever sounds good, so we tend to throw definitions and genres out the window when we play. As a band we were originally influenced by groups like  King Crimson, Pink Floyd, ELP, and Yes, but we also really dig a lot of modern stuff like Portico Quartet, Minus the Bear, BBNG, Pat Metheny, E.S.T,  and the Mars Volta. 

5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Mocha Chip!

You can find Philip's bio, as well as bios for the other high school playwrights from 2013, on the NJ Young Playwrights Festival at