010: Playwright Ian Bowater reaches out for feedback on his MILLENNIUM BOY

Identity, heritage, legacy, and whether history will repeat itself…again.

Dig into Ian Bowater’s newest play, “Millennium Boy” (see synopsis below) which will be featured in a reading for the public on Monday December 11 at 7pm at The Bar in Durham*. Ian’s collaborator on this project, Ulli Lommel, was himself a frequent collaborator with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the well-known and controversial German filmmaker. In addition to engrossing stories, Ian shares writing tips for playwrights and screenwriters, and considers the impact of our family on the stories we tell ourselves.

Ian Bowater is an actor, writer and director. He began in Theatre-in-Education and later became Associate Director at Theatre Royal, Stratford East in London. Moving to the Shaw Theatre in London he was its director for five years. Another move took him to L.A. where he spent twenty-four years working in the film industry. He was Director of Creative Affairs at Odyssey, before plying his trade as a screenwriter.  He has written over thirty screenplays for producers in the U.S., England, France, Germany and the Netherlands. including “Murder On The Cape” which will be on Netflix next year. Since relocating to Chapel Hill five years ago, he’s worked with Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern, the Arts Center Carrboro and Theatre in the Park.

Synopsis of the play: “The Millennium Boy” by Ian Bowater & Ulli Lommel concerns Johnny Reinhofer, 17 year old son of Mike Rennie, German emigre working in the music industry. Johnny has been radicalized by a White Supremacist group that has big plans for him. Mike asks his estranged father, Sebastian Reinhofer to visit and help deal with the Johnny. With a fractious history as father and son, Mike and Sebastian must first deal with the family’s own Nazi past.

*The reading of Millennium Boy is free and open to the public at 7pm on Monday, December 11 in The Bar, 711 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC (Just up the street from Motorco).  Any donations collected at the reading will be contributed to Black Ops Theatre Company. Thanks for your generosity.

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! The podcast was recorded at the ASBX home studio.


Episode 005: Director JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell give voice to the value of community

Episode 004: Performance artist JoRose celebrates burlesque and grace over entropy

Time break-down:

[0:00] Intro and TENTH EPISODE GRATITUDE (Double digits, baby!). Ian Bowater’s bio, episode info and synopsis of the play

[3:05] The meaning of the title, Millennium Boy, and strategies for new image of the alt-right

[5:05] Millennium Boy was first drafted in 2010 after the election of President Obama. The decision to revisit and revise the script as a reaction to Nationalist groups in 2017.

[6:49] Why did Ian and Ulli chose this subject? Ian’s research on WWII Germany and the long and continuing impact of Nazi Germany. “You’re not going to ride on the back of our history.”

[9:29] Why is this a play instead of a screenplay? “It’s just one moment in a film; it’s the precise moment in a piece of theatre.”

[11:48] Who is Ulli Lommel? Collaborator with Ian for almost 30 years, filmwork and work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder

[18:10] An identificarian by any other name…and the massaging of Hitler’s image

[20:10] Do Ian and Ulli have a different perspective on Americans and contemporary America? “Write what you know is the dumbest thing you can do.” “Writers are anthropologists. They’re inside, yet outside, the community.”

[23:40] What are the plans for the play? At the reading on December 11, donations will be contributed to Black Ops Theatre Company (Note: This is not a Black Ops event.)

[27:26] As a playwright, what is Ian hoping to get out of the reading? Tamara and Ian talk about the remarkable value of hearing one’s work read out loud and the crucial role of audience feedback in this process. “There’re jokes in there. I want to see if people laugh at them.” “Since I’ve been forthright with everybody, I hope they’ll be forthright with me.”

[34:41] Writing tips. Swap the dialogue. “Don’t do something, just stand there.”

[38:10] Tamara asks about the one female character in Millennium Boy.

[44:18] The theme of inheritance in the play. “Practically everything I’ve written has allusions to father-son relationships.”

[49:16] More themes in the play: false assumptions we make about our family history. History that is undisclosed. The Unknown unknown.

[56:08] Adults using children to fight grown-up wars

[57:33] Thanks and sign-off



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