Is this your first Sheherezade?
This is my first anything—my first produced dramatic work. I submitted it to Sheherezade on a dare by a friend in my playwriting group. I am still shocked it was accepted.
Which play did you write? What's it about?
I wrote “Dissonance.” It’s a play about projection, about how we all project our own personal attitudes, stories and dramas onto the world around us to the point that they actually dictate what we perceive. The setting is a park on a Sunday afternoon, a place where a wide variety of people might gather and where their personal dramas are bound to collide. The question the play raises: How do we break through each other’s bubbles to connect in some meaningful and authentic way? Is it even possible to do it?
What was your inspiration for the play?
I had no idea where this play was going when I started writing it—I just started with the premise of a body lying on the ground in a park, and then I watched what happened as different characters arrived on the scene. As is often the case when ‘dissonant’ realities collide, a lot of humorous things happened. I also became aware of my own projections as the play developed, my own assumptions about what was “really going on.” And every time I started feeling smug that I knew where the play was headed, I let it go in a different direction. In a way I continually confounded myself, which was kind of weird, but it was also a lot of fun.
An emerging theme between these plays that has really jumped out at us is reality and perception. Tell us about an experience that you thought had been one thing only to discover it was completely different.
It’s hard for me to respond because, at this point in my life, there is hardly any experience I have had that has not changed into something completely different over time. Almost invariably the ‘bad’ things that have happened have not only given my life richness and texture (and good story-telling material), they have also become the invaluable events that have helped to shaped who I am. I don’t really believe in something called ‘objective reality’ anymore. Among other things these days I am a dream worker, sharing and exploring dreams in groups, and for me dreams are real and reality is a dream—that about sums up my belief system. What does that mean for how we relate? To steal from Dylan (which I do a lot): “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.”
What has participating in Sheherezade meant to you?
Something new, exciting, terrifying, nauseating. All of the above simultaneously. Writing for me was always a head game, and then I started writing plays in a group, and then it was out of my head and more interactive and more fun, but it was still mostly words. This is bodies and movement and timing and actual physical reality! Oops—will I have to change my belief system (and my answer to the previous question)?! Ask me this question again when it’s all over.
What other projects are you working on? What can audiences of Sheherezade look forward to next?
I always thought 10-minute plays were stupid until this one got accepted—now they’re definitely cool! I will keep playing around with them; perhaps I will develop a series of them that are loosely connected in terms of characters and themes, to be presented together as a single performance. I also have a full-length play (draft #5) that needs…something…and ½ of a novel I need to return to and finish—hopefully writing plays hasn’t spoiled me for the task.