nytheatre.com q&a preview by Susan Bernfield
October 15, 2012
What is your job on this show?
When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I acted in plays from a very very young age, it was fun and attention-getting but looking back I think I was mostly drawn to the sense of community I felt when I was in a show. So I knew pretty early, but I sure never anticipated the areas of the field I work in now, or how my life in the theater would evolve.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I was always too wussy, too unconnected, too shy to become connected, too unclued-in to figure out how to work in film or TV. And I tried to work in something utterly unrelated, but just couldn't do it -- was pulled right back! I guess I'm STUCK.
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
It's about a woman who has a baby and her ambivalence around the experience of parenthood. Well, more like motherhood. She's thrown by the projections and expectations other people have about her suddenly, like she's pegged with a new identity that overrides everything else she's ever been just cause now she happens to also be a MOTHER. Er, a person who's a parent? A woman who's a mom? It very much comes from my own experience, though I wrote it quite a while ago (excited it's finally being produced!). So it's fun and a little crazy to revisit it now that it's so far into my own, uh, life as a parent. Though I still do a double-take when someone refers to me as a "mom." As my character says, "it's just so loaded," it just seems to go against everything else I am and have worked so hard to be. So I still relate. In the end, the character has to figure out how to find a relationship with her child that's real, and that's all her own, made independently of people's expectations of what that's supposed to be. I was never gonna write a "mom" play, oh no, but when it started coming out of me I was like, well, at least it's pretty subversive! Which I think it is, I think it' a pretty unsung perspective. Okay this is a broad sweeping generalization, but women who become mothers now seem so much less ambivalent, they have more models I think than I have, and the culture seems so in favor of parenthood. It seems, if not cool in some circles, definitely PREVALENT. Inescapable? But everybody's kindly told me the play's still relevant, and I hope people come away understanding that people's responses to parenthood are complex, and not everyone is a sanctimonious, obsessive super-parent. Just say no!
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, or Zeppo?
Chico. Cause it should sneak up on you.
If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Pay more artists more!!! I kinda think the answers to your other questions all stem from that: we'd have more diversity, theater would feel more necessary, and it would have the capacity to bring about more societal change IF our artists got to be full-fledged members of society AS ARTISTS because, like almost everybody else, they were paid for their work in a way that reflects its worth -- and EXPECTED to be paid for it. Being paid gives you just a little more power, and it stops you from living in the shadows. I think the American theater suffers from that.