In your opinion, where should we be focusing our energy in order to create the greatest change in the industry?
To enact change in the industry we have to be active participants in it. Share our work and values with joy and urgency. Engage with local theatres and artists we admire. Get active with local or national advocacy groups. Join the union or guild in our respective field. Because I think anyone can have a hot take about our industry today, but it takes real collaboration to act on it.
What are some recent shows that strike you as exemplary of where the industry should be headed in terms of what stories we tell and how we tell them?
A Strange Loop (now a Pulitzer winner!) at Playwrights Horizons’ and Red Bull’s Mac Beth are two that stick out. I don’t have words perfect enough to describe A Strange Loop—it’s a musical about a black queer man writing a musical, and it just revels in the medium while also completely redefining it. And Mac Beth made a 400 year old play feel brand new by carefully reinterpreting it as a story told by a group of diverse (and badass!) teen girls.
Are there any pieces that we need to retire, i.e, pieces that are too regressive or problematic in their content to be meaningfully salvaged?
I think this is a dangerous question to ask about art because it would demand an arbiter of “right” and “wrong”—which is a scary road to censorship. Of course there are pieces that I choose not to engage with, and shows I hope our society grows out of performing. But I do think there is educational value in examining works that no longer hold our societal values. I love theatre because it’s an active attempt to articulate the human experience. Which turns our theatrical canon into a living museum of sorts—a museum that needs to be contextualized, not burned down. And maybe we have to go on one lame school field trip to the Museum of Problematic Plays, but there’s no rule saying we ever have to go back.
You have experience writing, acting in, and producing new works - What excites you about the new projects you choose or that come your way?
All the projects I’m pursuing are vessels for women to grow into their power—both in story and in execution. It’s 2020--our world is *gestures broadly*--so I simply don’t have time for anything else.
Do you have any advice for other young multi-hyphenate theatre artists about how to cultivate an artistic voice?
Stand in your truth: be honest and curious about all that you know and all that you don’t know about yourself and the world—especially points of conflict and beauty—and then put that into the work.
We’re obviously in an unprecedented situation right now. How have you been staying creatively engaged during the pandemic OR what has been helpful to you in terms of staying centered and grounded?
I have deadlines that are keeping me busy, but it has definitely been challenging to get into any sort of creative flow. I’m spending a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram looking at art and photography, reading non-fiction to shake ideas loose, and my boyfriend and I watch a movie every night. At the beginning of our quarantine we had this idea to write down movies we love that the other hasn’t seen, and then draw one from a hat each night—I think we’re on movie #54 now. Aside from it being fun to watch and rewatch so many movies, it’s also been a great exercise in distilling the tenets of my own taste.
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