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Untying Love

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Peggy Willens
October 18, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Playwright & Producer.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I took a fascinating playwriting class with Tina Howe in 2008, and this play was born under her tutelage. It was an exciting, magical process to bring the characters to life. Then the director (Emma Berry) and I worked together with very fine actors to bring it to its current place: ready to thrill and entertain an audience!

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this fall that...?
...vividly and humorously portrays the powerful emotions that families experience during the end-of-life journey.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
Be prepared to witness strong feelings, desperate struggles to communicate, and the complexity of family relationships played out right in front of you. No late seating and no intermission! It takes off like a rocket and just GOES for 100 minutes.

People who like which of the following recent Broadway shows would also probably like your show: THE BOOK OF MORMON, ONCE, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, CLYBOURNE PARK?
All of them! UNTYING LOVE has the poignant, quiet moments of ONCE, the deeply yearning family relationships of SALESMAN, the topicality of CLYBOURNE, and the rollicking rhythms of MORMON (and some swearing, but not that much). At a small fraction of their ticket prices!

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
I believe that theater can crystallize issues that a society might be wrestling with, and can foster communication about those topics. In this case, stories about end-of-life issues and death with dignity are present in the news every single day. UNTYING LOVE is not a political play, though: it tells the story of one family's unique journey. But the family's struggles are very much shared by other families. Perhaps by seeing the story on a stage, people will become more willing to talk about what should be happening in our culture around questions of death and dying.