Have you ever worked on a play based off of interviews before? What has this process been like for you?
You’ve taken a comedic approach to the issue of displacement. What lead you to that choice?
My interview partner mentioned that at some point she saw that her condo was up for auction while she was still living there and fighting over her mortgage. I just thought that was such a grim incongruity. My partner is fighting for her way of life while people with little placards are playing a very low stakes game with money. Honestly, I have never actually BEEN to an auction. But how high can the stakes possibly be? People are competing for the privilege of spending their money. If they “lose” at that auction, they still have money. It doesn’t come close to what a person in danger of losing their home experiences. What if those worlds collided? What if those people came face to face? That’s why I decided to bring a flashy gameshow concept into the living room of a person struggling against displacement. Hopefully people will laugh at the tension between Eve’s seriousness and everyone else’s inability to take things any more seriously than they take a gameshow. And hopefully they will laugh because it reveals that we know that exploitation is the norm but that we wish it wasn’t.
Laughter is often the shortest distance between two cognitive points, because a joke doesn’t have to make total sense. A joke is essentially a question with a surprise answer. And what we find surprising (and how we communicate that surprise) says a lot about us, what we expect from life, and how we feel about those possibilities. So I often try to use humor in a way that is truly, at its core, just rage masquerading as silly scenarios and fun little incongruities. If I can convince someone that we share similar expectations of the shit the world has to offer, and then surprise them and make them laugh, then maybe I can make them share my rage. That’s a step.
In addition to all that, I’m interested in creating moments in which people are absolutely NOT laughing. I think that comedy can enhance the impact of drama when serious moments are placed strategically. We might be laughing one minute, but what happens in the excruciatingly long moment in which the main character prepares herself to very slowly crutch her way across the stage in complete silence? How do we feel in that moment knowing that we were laughing just a few seconds ago? Hopefully y’all feel uncomfortable. Because most of us are spectators to displacement. And I hope that this play makes us feel at least a little bit complicit.