Original InViolet Tim Mullins could write one hell of a memoir! He’s a set-building, Shakespearean-acting, former naval nuclear propulsion operator and lover-of-galactic-rocks who is thriving after open heart surgery and is currently building a “pumpkin bike” to ride across thecountry. Intrigued? Read on!
InViolet: How do you identify in the theater world?
Tim: Artistically, the roots of my theater world are primarily in acting (read attention whore) yet the longer I play within InViolet and without in the theater world, the more I am aware of the potential and possibility of branching into directing, writing, and producing. (I’m also aware now of the copious amounts of work involved in theater which happens to fly in the face of my desire to lay on warm sand and ponder love, life and my beverage temperature.) Technically, my engineering education has transformed into a stage carpentry practice that is both lucrative and rewarding. I get to build cool stuff that helps tell stories.
InViolet: You are one of the InViolet originals! Happy 10 years, sir! How did you get involved?
Tim: One of our artistic directors, Angela Razzano, and I attended the William Esper studio together. Upon graduation, she asked if I had any interest in going on an upstate retreat to workshop some original plays. I was reasonably certain at the time that this was code for “Would you like to go partying in the woods with like minded people?” Given the rather rigorous self-medication schedule I was on at the time, this was a solid yes for me. Over the next three days we work shopped 8 or 9 plays, I slept a similar number of hours, bonding/eating/playing was fit in where it could (aka sleep time), and the InViolet journey was begun.
InViolet: Do you have a favorite InViolet memory you can share?
Tim: First retreat, first night, Only Deanna Sidoti, Michelle David, Troy LoCoco, and I are free to stargaze as most of the people have not arrived or are busy writing. Someone mentions the fact that a meteor shower was going to happen that night so off we go, more than slightly tipsy, to lay down in a field with our heads together and watch the falling stars. There were so many that night, it seemed a wondrous, quilted patchwork of luminescence. To think of a chunk of galactic rock on a seemingly cold, endless journey that fires up like a small sun when contacting atmosphere. As a metaphor for ideas, creation and collaboration, pretty powerful stuff. As an experience, unforgettable.
InViolet: From your perspective, how has the company changed over the years?
Tim: In the beginning, the creative support was snuggly, warm and not very challenging and the writing was, well, ready to grow. Over a decade things have evolved to a place where you can challenge and develop your skill set in many aspects of theater. Through the various outlets for writers, actors, and directors we have created quite the powerful catalyst for the creation and development of new work. The immersive workshop quality of the retreats really sharpens the craft of our writers and the creative process and critical sensibility of fellow members. The InProgress workshops, One Night Stand gatherings, and Second Monday Socials make for better artists and better artistic communities. At InViolet, we ROLL DEEP!
InViolet: No InViolet World Premiere load-in is complete without a Tim Mullins there to guide us with his mad carpentry skills. How did you develop such prowess with tools?
Tim: I’m feeling the warm glow of a couple of compliments there, so thanks! My father is a musician so he was not a tool guy. It turns out I once actually had a class that taught the MOST fundamental tool skills, before I started Naval Nuclear Propulsion School. The tools got a tad more complex after that but the fundamentals will always serve you well. Then for InViolet’s production of This is Fiction at Cherry Lane, I was asked to assist the set designer and technical director to build the set. That job has turned into numerous freelance carpentry jobs and I recently was Production Carpenter for the Wallace Shawn play Evening at the Talk House with Ferris Bu…. I mean Mathew Broderick. (not a Ferris fan, I hear.)
InViolet: After many years in the same apartment, you recently moved and are now experiencing the wonders of Brooklyn. What’s that transition been like for you?
Tim: Nice place you got here! It’s never easy to move but after a decade at 106 & Columbus and a couple of lengthy physical rehabs, I was ready for a change. I’m currently building a bicycle to ride across the country (after this last election cycle, I’d like to check in on the middle) so I was unsure of my next residence. Turns out that fellow InVi Mark Cirnigliaro had a friend looking for a roommate in Cobble Hill. Love the neighborhood! There are lots of great food, culture, kids and money, not in that order. The pancakes at Café Luluc are essential to me being a happy Tim and the folks at 718 Cyclery are helping me build the wandering Pumpkin bike. Really a great hood! It’s so quiet some times at night I feel like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, I need the sound of chaos to sleep. As for having a roomie after a decade of solo living, it’s taking some adjustment. Who knew?
InViolet: You had some health stuff and hospital stays these past few years that scared us quite a bit. How you doing now? Have those experiences changed you at all?
Tim: The shattering and rebuilding of my left ankle went much better than was expected so that I only occasionally walk like a pirate. I also will be using a cane later in life and they are quite distinguished. The mitral valve repair to be done with minimally invasive vascular stents that turned into full blown open heart surgery was surprising in the largest sense of the word. Yeah, some dark times there. Nothing like a couple of extended stretches of self-reflection and forced inactivity to make you acutely conscious of your human failings. It will also firmly excise any sense of youthful immortality you may have once possessed. On the upside, I am definitely not dead! And many of my friends say this is the best I’ve looked since they have known me. Which is both wonderful and unsettling. I was a pretty regular drinker (again, in the largest sense of the word regular) and that seems of less interest now. Which is creating havoc with my personal life because now I have a standard or two, and this seriously interferes with the whole dating/mating process in which I trained myself. Yet it does feel healthier, so I remain hopeful.
InViolet: You have a long military history, yes? Can you tell folks about that?
Tim: I think at this point in my life it may be that I have long history, part of which is military. In any case, I decided to join up because after high school I moved in with a couple of friends whose parents paid their way while I was working ten hour days at a pump manufacturing plant. After tiring of coming home to bounce drunken friends out of the constant party that was my first apartment, I decided to give the military a try. Got a 98 out of 100 on the ASVAB (I are smart!) and then got a four hour Physics intensive from my high school chemistry teacher in order to barely pass the Nuclear Field Qualification Test. This allowed me to join up and get a tech education that rivaled MIT and Cal Tech for academic difficulty. I made some lifetime friends, learned how to run a ships power plant, and served aboard the USS California and the USS Enterprise. Also was on surf clubs on both ships so got to surf some EPIC locations. All top secret. Oh, yeah. After the Navy I obtained a BS in Industrial Engineering with a concentration in Systems Analysis from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. This led to an internship at Northrop Grumman building secret stuff for the Defense Department. Sounds exciting, it was totally not exciting, not the place for those seeking attention lol. While attending college, I fell into a musical theater production that my father saw which led to him sharing about his passion for acting when he was in school. He had never mentioned this to me before. This planted a seed, which InViolet has only nourished and help grow.
InViolet: Tell us all about this sexy project you’re doing with Austin Pendleton!
Tim: I was sitting home one day, scrolling through the EPA’s, as one does, when I noticed that King Lear was auditioning that day, Austin Pendleton was playing Lear, and Alberto Bonilla was directing. I had worked with Alberto in the past at corporate teambuilding events so I brushed up my Bard, auditioned, and got the part of Cornwall, who is the Duke who gouges out Gloucester’s eyes in the play. It’s of interest that in my preparation prior to rehearsal, I had envisioned my character as an intimidating, violent, scary individual. Yet only through rehearsal am I realizing what a comedic, bumbling, intimidating, violent, scary guy my Cornwall is. And being in a room of imaginative and supportive people is just all around good stuff! And Austin is… supremely Austin, an accomplished actor with whom is fun to play. Please come and see the show!
Here’s a link: http://www.secrettheatre.com/KingLear.html
InViolet: What’s next for you?
Tim: I’m visiting Navy buddies for our 50th year in South Florida after Lear wraps. We’ll be on a boat. Then heading to Rome for my birthday and the Amalfi coast for the wedding of two friends in August, huzzah! And building my pumpkin orange bike and planning the Cross My America tour is exciting (and a little scary)! Also continuing to create and play with my InViolet pals will provide all the healthy distraction I require as I generate an income in areas less exciting than theater.