Christine Evans’ new play, Can’t Complain, debuts at Spooky Action on October 1, 2015. Her award-winning plays have been produced in her native Australia, the US and the UK. World premiere productions include Trojan Barbie (ART); Slow Falling Bird (Crowded Fire), My Vicious Angel and Pussy Boy (Belvoir St., Sydney) and Weightless, Mothergun and All Souls’ Day (Perishable Theatre). A Playwrights Center Core Member, she holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Brown, taught playwriting at Harvard from 2007-12, and joined Georgetown University’s theatre faculty in 2012. Her new novel, Cloudless, is now available.
Why are you a playwright?
Playwrights are like the Wright Brothers—we have to invent machines that will actually fly. That means designing for time and space as well as language, and keeping the thing moving so it doesn’t crash.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Funny, beautiful, scary theatre with poetry, heart, guts and brains. Theatre where something is really at stake. Something original and amazing, where the inside is bigger than the outside—so I have to think and dream and ponder it after it’s over.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
Often it’s an image, or a single moment. Or someone tells me to write something and gives me a hard deadline. For instance—Can’t Complain began life as a page-long play for the One-Minute Play Festival in New York. And then I got curious about the characters, so I kept writing.
Describe your writing day.
When my job allows, I start with a pot of tea, a journal and a lot of staring out the window. I walk and mutter. Then type.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
October 1 – 25, 2015
Spooky Action Theater Company
1810 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Details and Tickets
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
It was (at that point) my only unproduced play and, after several readings and workshops, I was keen to see it staged. After Spooky Action did a reading, then a workshop through their New Works program, they offered to produce it for the Festival and I was thrilled to work with them on it.
Which female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
There are so many! Caryl Churchill is God; she reinvents the form every time and deals with huge social questions through a brilliant theatrical lens. Sarah Kane blew my mind the first time I heard a play of hers read. Suzan-Lori Parks. Maria Irene Fornes. Migdalia Cruz. Naomi Wallace. Adrienne Kennedy. Naomi Iizuka. Noelle Janaczewska. Paula Vogel, who was my teacher.
What’s missing from theatre today?
I could write a book about this, but here’s a list:
-A sense of the future (arts education; diversity; new media; real interactivity)
-A galvanizing connection to community
-Radicalism and visionary experiment, not just “edgy” stuff.
–Women’s voices (by a ratio of 1:5 ) and equity in artists’ employment relative to adminstrative theatre jobs.
-Public arts funding
-Time to make deep and thoughtful and original work
–Diverse voices, artists, and aesthetics
What are you working on now?
–A new play, GALILEE, set on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Sort of a “Love in the time of climate change” story. With scary mutant sharks in it.
–The launch of my first novel, CLOUDLESS, also set in Australia.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … “
writing more novels and working on a screenplay. (italics)