Introducing W/D Lab Member… Catherine Yu

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Playwright Catherine Yu (Photography credit: Luke Fontana)

The 2016 Writer/Director Lab Reading Series comes to an end on Monday May 16th with Le Jeté  by Catherine Yu, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene. Here’s an interview with Catherine about her massive, musical piece of theatre.

Briefly tell us about your play.

CY: My play is about how life is a piece of music through the lens of Baroque opera, the male gaze, transgender politics, performance art and female friendship. My play title is actually a ballet term.

Who are your greatest influences in your writing?

CY: Classical music, poetry, drawing and dance. Chekhov. Luminous hearts and magnanimous intellects of writing mentors, grad school classmates and dear actor friends who have shown me “It’s possible!” Broadly speaking, the goodness in mankind. In the span of my little life, nothing would be possible without the great comic playwright Amy Freed. She has always seen the great significance of each human being and I think that is the true task of a dramatist.

What part of the Writer/Director Lab process was the most instructive and entertaining?

CY: The Directors’ Projects were incredibly inspiring and edifying as they showed the writers that with the flick of a light switch or a certain angle of repose, the play gathers its dimensions. It is a gift to see an early scene on its feet by a huddle of brave artists.

How have your dramaturgical skills developed over the course of the past nine months?

CY: I’ve found a greater appreciation of the humility in the task at hand –the writing of a text that could be released to a troupe to play. I think I’ve become a better listener, which may be a secret ingredient to good dramaturgy.

The Lab has produced some pretty great plays. Looking over them, do any stand out to you and why do you pick those particular plays? [You can see all the plays if you go to sohorep.org and click on the Lab button at the top and browse thru the various years.

CY: Can I list writers and not plays? It’s only because I’m undereducated in theater that I haven’t experienced ALL of the Lab writers. But names that jump out at me and their plays that I know of before I fall asleep to end the day– Jiehae Park (HANNAH AND THE DREAD GAZEBO; PEERLESS), Lloyd Suh (CHARLES FRANCIS CHAN JR.’S EXOTIC MURDER MYSTERY); Susan Soon He Stanton; Michael Yates Crowley (EVANSTON); Madeleine George (THE WATSON INTELLIGENCE); Anne Washburn (MR. BURNS…; 10 OUT OF 12); Annie Baker (THE ALIENS; THE FLICK; JOHN; UNCLE VANYA); David Adjmi (STUNNING; MARIE ANTOINETTE); Jackie Sibblies Drury (WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT…), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (NEIGHBORS; AN OCTOROON; APPROPRIATE); Jenny Schwartz (GOD’S EAR; IOWA).


Le Jeté will be read as the conclusion of the 2016 Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab Reading Series on Monday May 16th. It’s first-come-first-served. 7pm. The house will open at 6:45pm. Please join us!

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