Name: John Paul Olsen
From: Dallas, Texas
Lives: Martinez, California
Go-To Cycling Snack: Peanut Butter
Cyclist Rating: Cycling is my main mode of transportation
How did you hear about Agile Rascal and what made you want to do it?
Three years ago, I was gloomily browsing through the web when I found an email forwarded from Dara Silverman. She was calling out for artists interested in writing a play and touring it by bicycles across the country. I knew instantly that it was sincere, something that would make me happy and I had to say yes right away. Theatre Arts and Bicycling are two of my positively fulfilling passions.
What is bicycle touring theatre to you?
Bicycling touring theatre to me is a nontraditional way of sharing an ancient art.
Please tell us an embarrassing cycling story.
One day as I was approaching the Pick-up/Drop-off area of Oakland International Airport, where I worked at the time, I was riding in the bike lane of the farthest right lane. A taxi driver’s side door swung open in front of me. Although I steered immediately to avoid the door, it still caught the edge of my drive-side pedal grappling my bike from my body in motion. I flipped over my handle bars and landed on my back in front of skycap check-in booths for all of my co-workers to see.
Tell us about your best free theatre experience.
My dear old friend Thalia Pozen had written a musical for Lotta’s Opera in 2006. It was a street theatre experiment, in which the performers were singing, dancing and acting along Market Street of San Francisco. It became more fully interactive than I had anticipated.
What about Montana intrigues you?
It’s very mysterious place to me. I have never been, save one day when my Dad and I drove through from Seattle to Dallas, stopping in Missoula for lunch. The surrounding landscape was all mountains. I’ve been interested in exploring the state ever since. There are two of my longest-running favorite books-turned-to-film dramas that immerses their setting in Montana. A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall.
Why do you choose to do live theatre? Especially in a digital age.
I feel grounded when I do live theatre. The digital age is an era that brings tools for easier and more innovative living. I’m mostly interested in using my physical body for my artistic reputation.