Get a sneak peek at NO PLACE TO GO: Ethan Lipton’s Ode to the Unemployed, with an interview with Ethan below.
What is the show No Place to Go? Is it based on actual events?
I’d just found out that my job of 10 years was moving out of state, and with the Recession hitting and the Occupy movement taking off, it seemed like rich material to explore. My job was a part of my identity. It brought me income, allowed me a measure of artistic freedom, and was one of my primary communities. Watching the people I worked with trying to move on once they learned the company was leaving, and trying to move on myself, was a complicated, depressing, anger-making process. I wanted to document that in a way that was funny but also revealed the inherent dignity of work.
What have been the show’s greatest influences?
I grew up listening to Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson, Randy Newman, John Prine, Woody Guthrie, Tom Waits, Mr. Bob Dylan— storytellers who take you on a journey, stir you up emotionally, make you laugh or scratch your head — and they’ve all influenced me, as have playwrights like Albee, Guare and Ionesco. And I love Gershwin, too — my Grandma Irene used to play a lot of tinkly piano and I liked that. So, you know, it’s all in there
So what would you call the musical style of the show?
We pull from everything in the American songbook: jazz, country, rock, folk, funk, you name it. It’s hard to describe our music as a band, and this show is no different. I write the lyrics and melodies, and the style is usually embedded in that, but we arrange the songs as a foursome, so my bandmates have a big influence. The test for us is, can we own it? Can we make it sound and feel like us?
Which type of people identify most with this show, and why?
Only the ones with a soul. And the ones who’ve ever had a job. Actually, I think anyone who’s appreciated having a place to go can find something in this show.
Barrington Stage presents Ethan Lipton & his Orchestra in NO PLACE TO GO at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret October 10 & 11 at 8pm. Click for tickets or more information.