What is your connection to the Boston area and how has it impacted your life?
I was born in the city, but left the country entirely shortly after. I moved back to attend grad school. I’m fascinated by Boston; it’s a liberal city with a conservative heart. It’s segregated, and it hates outsiders. You can’t change the mind of a Bostonian unless they let you. The city has forced me to grow up. It’s where I found my voice as a writer, lived on my own for the first time, moved in with someone for the first time, got my first big girl job. You aren’t given things in Boston, you have to earn it. This city has changed me for the better.
Have you ever worked on a play based off of interviews before? What has this process been like for you?
Yes. I did the Milton Project, which was about people in a retirement home in Milton, MA. The process of This Place/ Displaced is completely different, in the sense that I was much more involved. Writing with real people as inspiration is always interesting. It gets you out of the playwright bubble, and forces you to let go of a little control.
How is writing for a rehearsal process different from writing in solitude?
I don’t know. Rehearsal, for me, is where the real writing begins.
Your play takes a hard look at, as the title says, “what happens in this house.” What do you see as the relationship between abusive environments and housing inequity?
I think that if you’re worried about keeping a house and about your livelihood, you’re much less empowered to stand up to abuse. And you’re much less likely to believe that your voice matters. Justice, unfortunately in many cases, is a privilege.
What have you learned through this project?
To be kinder to everyone, because you don’t know what their stories are.