On October 26, we held our second FEED twitter session with playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury who discussed her process in creating We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Afrika, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915. The transcript of the discussion, curated by Raphael Martin, is below!
A: I found out about the herero by mistake: a google search. Once I knew about it, I knew I had to try to write a play.
Q: And how did you create this unique form?
A: I’m a big believer in form coming from content. (#leastcontreversialstatementofalltime!) But really a character refers to the genocide as a “rehearsal Holocaust”–I thought a lot about trauma and the recreation of trauma
Q: Where did you have the idea of couching the play in a rehearsal setting?
A: A big part of acting & empathy is putting yourself in another person’s place–that lead to the rehearsal room.
Q: Was there a moment of crisis in the writing of this play that you’d be willing to share?
A: Moment of crisis=whenever I think about the play. BUT. a big one = looking at the 1st draft & wanting to UNwrite it.
Q: Have you yourself ever done any acting?
A: I acted in college, as much as I could. also as a child. also in high school. I wish I was better at it.
Q: And what is it like to collaborate with these fabulous actors?
A: IT. IS. UN. BELIEVABLE. Talented, generous, musical, hilarious, strange, empathetic, gorgeous, twisted geniuses. ALL. I mean: the play depends on them. All plays do but this one in particular. They need to be super, and they are.
Q: Music and rhythm plays such a huge part in this play. Can you speak on that theme?
A: Music/rhythm makes live performance make sense & it’s how I make sense of the world. It leads people through the story.
Q: Our production is quite environmental. What was that like for you to get your head around?
A: To be honest, that’s how it is in my head, kind of, when i’m writing it. the repetition and fractured conversations…
Q: Thanks so much for chatting to us! There will be a more extensive chat on the FEED page of the Soho Rep. site soon.
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