One of the great joys of being a critic is the childlike sense of wonder that comes with being the first to discover something new (that, and as the esteemed music critic Lester Bangs once put it, getting free shit). I first met Zachary Oberzan after seeing his one-man show “Rambo Solo,” developed with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, in early 2009. (Yes, for the record the tickets were comp since I was reviewing for Theater Online.) At the time I wrote, “I have seen the theater future and its name is Rambo – or more accurately, one fearless thespian named Zachary Oberzan who’s got the right combination of mesmerizing lunacy and sheer cojones to guide an audience through the entire plot of “First Blood” in his Manhattan studio apartment then transport the journey to the live stage of Soho Rep.”
As it turns out, my “big discovery” was already an accomplished, Obie award-winning actor who’d been developing his artistry for a decade. Nevertheless, it was exciting to watch as Oberzan subsequently transitioned from theater to a feature film. His “Flooding With Love For The Kid” – “First Blood” adapted and shot by Oberzan in that studio apartment by himself playing all the characters for 96 bucks, started as a DVD sold after “Rambo Solo” shows, had its theatrical premiere run at Anthology Film Archives last year, and is currently knocking about the festival circuit. Now the tireless Oberzan has created yet another film/theater hybrid, which is running January 5th through 16th at Dixon Place as part of The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival. “Your brother. Remember?” incorporates scenes from Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Kickboxer,” the cult flick “Faces of Death,” footage of he and his brother Gator acting out those films twenty years ago, and he and Gator remaking those home movies today. So when the opportunity arose to chat with Oberzan about this latest tour de force, I certainly couldn’t let the chance to discover something new pass me by. With any luck maybe I’d even get a free DVD.
To read the interview visit Filmmaker magazine.