FEED continues its interviews with members of the Writer/Director Lab. This week, playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury.
1) Briefly tell us about your play REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY.
Briefly — ha. As horrible as it sounds, the play is kind of about art and artists. At the center of it is a question of legacy: what do we try to leave behind, what do we actually leave behind, and how do we deal with being left. It’s also about the toll pathologies that are common in artists (depression, narcissism, addiction, etc.) and the people who love the artist. It’s also about photography, both as a form and as an omnipresent condition of contemporary life.
2) Who are your greatest influences in your writing?
That changes every 5 days. I’m still really influenced by grad school: my teachers (Lisa D’Amour, Erik Ehn, Tracey Scott Wilson). My classmates (Mallery Avidon, Mia Chung, Joe Waetcher) and performance studies professors I came into contact with (Rebecca Schneider, Patricia Ybarra). I can’t stop thinking about plays by Jenny Schwartz and Erin Courtney and Young Jean Lee. While working on this play I’ve been thinking about [City University of New York’s] Prelude Festival and their attempt to combine/explode the gallery and the theater, the white box and the black box. I’ve also been reading work by moody white guys like Roland Barthes, Louis Althusser, Phillip Larkin, and Mark Zuckerberg (well, his website).
3) What part of the Writer/Director Lab process was the most instructive and entertaining?
I really enjoyed the directors projects, where we got a glimpse of a possible staging/interpretations of the plays mid-process — that was great both for my own process, and for having a shared reference for conversations and feedback for the other plays in the lab. I’ve also loved way that Jenny & Ken were with each other and with us; I found their collaboration instructive and entertaining, and saying so makes me a giant suck up, which is neither instructive nor entertaining.
4) How do you think the Lab will influence your future work?
I think the Lab structure made me appreciate how seriousness and rigor combined with levity and curiosity help me during the development process. I liked the feeling in the room during lab meetings, and I felt supported by the professionalism of it: you have fun, you love the work, you show up prepared (most of the time), you are generous with your mind, you wrestle with partially formed ideas. I learned that these are good things to do to make stuff that might become not bad.