|Since 1986 at the Burstein Family Stage||Home of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama|
FILL OUR MOUTHS by Lauren Feldman
Q & A with the Playwright
What's your Florida connection?
Born and raised in Miami, Florida. My dad was born and raised in Miami Beach; Mom was raised in Orlando. And both of them, and my sister, are Florida Gators. My grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and once-or-twice removed family are mostly in Florida too.
How many plays have you written?
Not that many actually. Not yet. So far: three full-lengths, one or two long one-acts, and about a dozen short plays. And a solo piece.
Did you write this play for school? What class? What was your grade on it? (just kidding)
We don't get grades. Thank goodness. It's just pass/fail. And, you know, your own integrity regarding the work you create. We get productions, not grades. Which is much scarier and much more gratifying. Yes, I wrote this play - well, not for school, but at school. It's a three-year M.F.A. program in Playwriting, and every year you write a new play and have it produced there.
Did anyone you know inspire the characters?
What inspired the plotline?
Um. I don't know. I don't mean to be evasive or new-agey - but it's hard to say what inspires anything. Lots of things do. Partly imagination, partly experience and observation, partly... I don't know. A combination.
Please tell me about some of the symbolism in the play
It's funny - I don't usually think about my plays in terms of symbolism. Actually, I don't even know if I could if I wanted to. Maybe there's symbolism there, but I'm probably not the person to ask about what it is. When I look at the play, I don't see symbols - I see people. Trying to connect. And understand.
What is/are the dominant theme(s)?
Again, tricky question to answer. I feel like these questions are better answered by the people who see the plays, rather than the people who write them. One major theme is human connection. I think every play I've ever written seems to be somehow, in some way, about the glory and necessity and complexity and grief and struggle and ambiguity and beauty of human connection. Other themes in this play? The struggle to speak the same language. The struggle to understand, and name, who you are and where you belong. The list goes on...
What do you hope is the "takeaway" for the audience?
I definitely don't want to think of my plays in terms of "takeaways." That would reduce them to something like doggy-bags.
Who did you work with in Miami?
Lots of people. To my great fortune. Stephanie Norman, Susi Westfall, Gail Garrisan, Jade Whelan, and Danielle Karliner at City Theatre. Richard Jay Simon of Mosaic Theatre. Joe Adler, GableStage. The list goes on - and working with different people in different capacities. I spent my four years after college working in South Florida theater, before I came to Yale for graduate school.
Is there anything autobiographical in the play?
Of course. I think all my plays start from some sort of autobiographical seed, and then they grow from there. Ideally they become a plant (or tree or something) quite separate from the seed they grew from. So the play is not autobiographical, but the seed of it is.
What are you working on now?
A new play called GRACE AT 80 FT. It's about loving, grieving, and rock climbing.
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