Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rage Room - Summer Chastant Interview

Photo Content from Summer Chastant

Summer Chastant is the creator, executive producer, writer, and lead of the original comedic series Namaste, Bitches. She holds an award from The Kennedy Center in addition to working with Tony®, Emmy®, and Academy Award® winning directors and writers. She received her BFA from the University of Utah and her MFA in Acting through the English Department of USD/The Old Globe.


Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that acting was not just a hobby?
I first came to LA to visit my sister, who was living here then, when I was in my early teens. Because I had been studying acting in Pittsburgh on a scholarship, I decided that I wanted to book a television show. I got the trades and made my sister drive me to an audition. I got a part with one line on “The Secret World of Alex Mack.” And from that point on I knew I wanted to be in television, I just didn’t know I would end up being a creator/writer.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in acting?
I’d say the most rewarding thing as an actor is to learn to write great parts for yourself.

What do you hope for people to be thinking when they watch the RAGE ROOM?
I hope they realize that, during this period in history, they are not experiencing their frustration or fear of the other in a vacuum. All of the characters that I’ve written in the show are relatable and every day people. Just like everyone I know, they have their reasons to be frustrated with their relationships, their partners, their work, their ability to make a living, their need to be seen and heard.

What was the most magical thing that happened during the production?
Making this piece was filled with magic—from working with a dream team who all showed up and just gave their entire hearts, to finding a location the day after we lost the space where we were going to film. But the most magical was watching every actor come off set from “raging” in the Rage Room in a completely zen state. Each one of them thanked me for giving them a space to beat the crap out of inanimate objects. It’s like the best form of therapy.

What was the most difficult scene in the movie to shoot?
We shot the entire piece out of order, so I’d say the most difficult piece to shoot was the flashback scene with the husband. That scene was the first thing that we filmed and I had to switch gears for the first time from being the creator/writer to being Darla. On top of that I had to be in my most enraged state, smashing plates onto an exact spot on the floor while making sure everyone in the small space was safe and protected. Also, that was the first time I had an actual conversation with actor Adam Huss and he was such a generous actor and helped me to get where I needed to be emotionally to give that performance.

In your series; RAGE ROOM can you tell my Nerd community a little about it?
RAGE ROOM is about a woman who divorces her husband and opens up a local shop where people can come and work out their frustrations by smashing inanimate objects. It literally becomes all the rage!

Are there actors that you’re excited to engage/work with?
I hand picked every actor that I worked with and for some I even wrote their parts for them. I really wanted to work with Sarah Lancaster so I was thrilled that she made time in her busy schedule to play Jenny. Johnny Ramey, who is Puja, fills every single moment with his performance and really nails it. I adore Tania Verafield and she’s in both Rage Room and NAMASTE BITCHES because she is awesome. Matt Beidel and Carolyn Ratteray are actors that I went to school with at The Old Globe, who I’ve wanted to work with since. And Adam Huss is just remarkable as an actor and the kindest person. Oh, and I just loved acting with Ann Gee byrd who plays my mom. We all had a blast.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I have a few half hour pilots that I’m really excited about. And I’m in negotiations for making another season of my hit digital series, NAMASTE, BITCHES, about the underbelly of the yoga world. I’m also working on a podcast!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another movie, who would it be and why?
Great question! I would love to introduce Puja (Jonny Ramey’s character) to Shuri (Letitia Wright’s character--T’Challa’s sister) in Black Panther. I think they would absolutely hit it off with their supernatural gifts and their quirky personalities. I could see them being best friends. And who doesn’t want to go to Wakanda?

What do you when you have a day off?
My favorite thing to do with a day off is to go see live music. I get so inspired by people doing what they are meant to be doing in life. I find it moving and spiritual.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
My favorite restaurant was Canele. It just recently closed but it was the best. I could walk to it from home and the food was just delicious. I hope the owner opens another place!

What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping. I go to bed early and wake up early. My favorite time to write is in the early morning so I try to never miss out on that!

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I would definitely trust myself more in my late teenage years and in my early twenties. I started to care too much about what other people thought and that stifled my creativity.

Tell me about your first kiss
Wow. Ok. It was super awkward. I had braces. It was a dare from truth or dare. And I can’t even remember the kid’s name.

Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have received scholarships for my endeavors in the arts. Without that I could never be doing what I’m doing now. When I was ten years old I went door to door to local businesses and raised enough money to fly to Los Angeles and be in a production of Alice In Wonderland that toured the US. I will never forget how hard I worked to make that happen, that incredible experience, and the tenacity that is required to continue to make it in this business. It was the first time I was written up in the press—in the Youngwood Newspaper.

What did you do for your last birthday?
I turned off all electronics for the entire day and went on a long hike.

In Colfax, New Mexico, 'Darla' (SUMMER CHASTANT) opens a local business with the small alimony she received from her recent divorce. From her own personal need to “break things,” Darla creates a space where people can go to blow off steam in a controlled setting. A diverse cast of characters cycle through the rage room working out their own personal frustrations. With the aid of a young vagabond, 'Puja' and his generous heart, 'Darla' confronts her beliefs about humanity while dealing with the everyday drama and comedy of creating a business from the ground up. They are nothing short of an odd couple dealing with neuroses within and craziness surrounding them progressing toward a cathartic breakthrough on multiple levels.
  • You will find it cathartic
  • You will laugh 
  • There’s nothing else like it. 
  • Each episode has a new character 
  • Each episode is under 5 minutes
  • You will want to go to a Rage Room
  • The music is awesome in the show
  • It’s action packed
  • It will open your mind
  • You will want to tell your friends about the show and rage rooms!
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