Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Interview with Chisa Hutchinson (NYC, USA)

Can you tell me a story from your childhood that influenced the person and/or playwright you are today?

I was a scholarship kid at a fancy-pants private school where there was an art gallery.  You know, so we could have art like in the school.  And there was an exhibition there of the work of a photographer who documented poverty in America, people who lived in the projects, lived out of their cars, lived under less than humane conditions.  There was a picture of a black woman sitting next to a huge hole in a wall of her low-income apartment.  I felt like I knew her.  I felt like she could've been my next door neighbor on Avon Ave.  And I felt for her.  So when a girl behind me went, "Ew, why doesn't she just get that fixed?" I didn't know what to do with all them feelings.  Lawd lawd lawd, so many feelings.  That girl, bless her ignorant little heart, she didn't know any better.  But that's the point.  I knew all about her.  I had no choice but to know all about her.  Whatever she liked (Dave Matthews, The Princess Bride), whatever she hated (boys with long hair, dark nail polish, boys who wear nail polish), whatever confused, amused, or upset her... that was the "universal experience."  But my experience, the experiences of people like me... totally irrelevant.  I was standing right in front of her, but I was invisible. But I figure figure like this: people don't know what they don't know.  They can't know that you're pissed, hurt, offended to the point of wanting to boycott their company, that they're not being a good friend, that they're missing out on something special or potentially helpful if you don't make some noise.  So I'm making some.

If you can have a drink with any dramatist (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Any of Shakespeare's contemporaries.  Because they got the royal shaft.  Literally.

Why is theater important to you?

Because it's the only weapon I have.

What advice do you have for new playwrights?

Say yes to everything.  Until you can't.

Chisa Hutchinson (NYC, USA) award-winning plays, which tend to probe social issues, include She Like Girls, Sex on Sunday, The Subject, Dirt Rich, Alondra Wuz Here and Somebody’s Daughter among others. She’s been a Lark Play Development Fellow, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, a resident at the William Inge Center for the Arts a New York NeoFuturist, and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group. She is proud to be one of the newest members of New Dramatists. www.chisahutchinson.com

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