Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"the siren called to me and I heedlessly followed" an interview with Lisa Kron

What was your first experience of theater that converted you to wanting to pursue it as a career?

I think of theater more as a calling than a career.  The siren called to me and I heedlessly followed, assuming I was irresponsibly abdicating from making a career choice of any kind.  Though it's been a serial seduction, my "God Play" experience, as Paula Vogel calls it, was Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin's show "Split Britches" which exploded my brain when I saw it in East Village in the mid-80's.  

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

Thornton Wilder, Thornton Wilder, Thornton Wilder because Our Town is the hugest and most perfect play I know and because no one wrote more brilliantly about plays, how they work, and what they are for then he.

Why is theater important to you?

Who knows why we are drawn to our passions, really.  I'm working on a Sloan commission and trying to understand what makes some people want to be scientists.  It seems to me that science gives those who are drawn to it a framework through which they feel connection to the inchoate natural world.  Similarly, theater craft is, for me, a framework through which we can feel connection to the inchoate human world.  

If you could have one of your plays produced in any country in the world, which play and which country would you choose, and why?

Wow.  Hm.  I don't know.  In general, I do yearn for more diverse audiences, since, as the aforementioned Mr. Wilder says, theater is created in "the group mind".  Performances are palpably more alive when that group mind is made up of people of different ages, classes, backgrounds, experiences, etc, who watch a play through many different lenses and reveal the play to each other.  It's the best when that happens, the whole point, really.  However... that doesn't answer this question at all, does it?  I don't know.  Anywhere!  Everywhere!  

Lisa Kron (NYC, USA) is a playwright and performer. Her plays include the musical Fun Home, a musical written with composer Jeanine Tesori and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel; The Ver**zon Play, which premiered 2012 Humana Festival; In The Wake (Lortel and GLAAD Media Award nominations, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist), Well (Tony nominations), 2.5 Minute Ride (OBIE, L.A. Drama-Logue, New York Press, and GLAAD Media Awards); and 101 Humiliating Stories (Drama Desk nomination). Lisa is a founding member of the legendary OBIE and Bessie Award-winning collaborative theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers. Lisa has received playwriting fellowships from the Lortel and Guggenheim Foundations, Sundance Theater Lab, the Lark Play Development Center, and the MacDowell Colony, the Cal Arts/Alpert Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and grants from the Creative Capital Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts. She was a resident playwright at the American Voices New Play Initiative at Arena Stage. As an actor, she has performed in her own plays and the plays of the Five Lesbian Brothers, The Foundry’s Good Person of Szechwan, The Normal Heart at the Public Theater, Spain at M.C.C., and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told at NYTW. Lisa is on the playwriting faculty of the Yale School of Drama, she is a member of Actors Equity, and serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America. lisakron.org

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