Entertainment » Theatre

'Shooting Porn! Live on Stage!' A Chat About the Dramatic Adaptation of the Documentary Film

by Scott Holland
Saturday Feb 11, 2017

Ronnie Larsen, the creator of the hit Off Broadway play "Making Porn," about a gay-for-pay adult film star, came up with the idea to make the documentary after being approached by real adult film actors who recognized their own stories in his play. They invited him to their sets; and years before reality TV became popular, an intriguing docu-drama was completed that would be screened at LGBT film festivals around the world.

The film was then adapted for the stage and accentuated with actual cameras and monitors, placing the audience right in the middle of a realistic shoot and the drama that ensues.

After more than a decade, Larsen has resurrected his cult favorite with a new production at Empire Stage in Fort Lauderdale, running from Feb. 9 - March 12. New York City-based actor, model and singer Adam Davenport stars in the run. It was a pleasure to sit down with Adam, just days before his first show.

When did you realize you wanted to be a performer and what was your first professional gig?

I was bullied as a kid and the theater was the first place where I felt truly welcome. There, my creativity and sensitivity were embraced rather than belittled. My freshman year, Rick Fonte cast me in Pride and Prejudice and I caught the acting bug. I landed my first professional job as an actor three months after I moved to New York City; Michael Bergmann cast me in the ensemble of a new opera, an adaptation of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. We did the show in the old 599 seat Hecksher Theatre, where Joseph Papp originally mounted his New York Shakespeare Festival, so it was a humbling experience to work on that stage.

You are a fitness model, an actor, a writer, director and a songwriter/music producer: what do you like more and why?

I work mostly as an actor but lately people have called me some kind of multi-hyphenate as I've started to get noticed for things in other creative disciplines that fall outside of acting. In November I performed with an international choir at Carnegie Hall and that was probably the most incredible experience of my life. But I don't know if I have a real preference because I think they are all powerful forms of storytelling: film, theater and music. As I get older I see myself directing more and one day I want to make projects that will incorporate all three mediums, like what Hamilton did with hip-hop and musical theater.

How do you keep yourself in such good shape?

For most of my life I was very skinny and intimidated by the gym. I weighed 150 pounds until I started lifting weights in 2014. I had great mentors in my friends Dylan Scott and Ryan Van Dyke from Los Angeles: Dylan trained me and helped me overcome my fear of using the equipment; Ryan is a guru on diet and supplementation. I'm now hovering around 185 pounds so I made a sort of physical transformation within a few years. But I think consistency is key, in both training and diet. And I try to set specific goals: this year I'm focusing on my legs more.

Besides all this sexiness, I wanted people to know you graduated from Yale. How was that experience?

Thank you! It was the only school I wanted to go to so I applied Early Decision and it worked out in my favor. Yale was an environment where I started to challenge myself as an artist. It's a very competitive place: everyone is very ambitious so you're motivated to be your very best. My senior year I made a film on 35mm with Clint Eastwood's cinematographer Tom Stern that got me my first agent and manager in Los Angeles.

Other than this production, what has been your favorite?

It's hard to pick just one project. Last year I did four plays in New York and also worked with Daphne Rubin-Vega, Olympia Dukakis and Margaret Avery; these actresses are huge role models to me and represent what it means to be an artist who is deeply committed to their craft. But a few highlights: I played Hercules in an indie film that is currently in post-production and I just released a single "My Return Address is You" on Independent Ear/Universal Music Group. It's my first song and I'm really proud of it. 18 months ago I wrote the lyrics on the subway and it's a dream come true to now have people say they just heard your song on iTunes or Spotify. With anything I do, my aim is to reach others and move or inspire them in some way.

What should the south Florida audiences expect from Ronnie Larsen's new play, "Shooting Porn" at Empire Stage?

They can expect to laugh and laugh some more: it is irreverent, provocative and campy like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. But the show has some poignant moments: These characters are based on real interviews and working on this material has challenged my perception of the adult film industry. Food for thought: We publicly treat gay adult movies like it's this dirty thing but maybe there is someone who is closeted or sexually repressed and is unable to express his sexuality but he's seen an erotic video and he's made a connection to it and that connection may be all he ever has to his authentic sexuality. Our job as actors is to help others understand someone whose world is different from their own through the power of our own interpretation. If our cast can bring empathy to these characters and make you not only see these performers as real human beings but maybe even understand something about human sexuality that you never considered before, then we've succeeded and done our job in that regard.

"Shooting Porn! Live on Stage!" will be performed Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Feb. 9 - March 12. Tickets are $35 - $50 and can be purchased at: RonnieLarsen.com.

If you want to learn more about Adam or get in touch with him you can visit his website at independentear.com/artists/adam-davenport or follow him on social media at facebook.com/adamdavenportnyc or instagram.com/adamdavenportnyc

Warning: This play contains male nudity and simulated sex scenes.

Copyright HotSpots! Magazine. For more articles from HotSpots! visit www.hotspotsmagazine.com


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