Sunday, February 20, 2011

Interview with Diane Sampson about her new play Naked

This 2010-2011 season of PlayGround, we began showing sneak peeks from full-length plays we commissioned, and which are in the process of being written, at Monday Night PlayGround. This February Monday Night (2/21/11), i.e., tomorrow night's show, will feature an excerpt from Diane Sampson's play Naked. I got to ask Diane, who won PlayGround's 2010 June Anne Baker Prize for a distinguished female playwright, some questions about the play we will be seeing a glimpse of tomorrow. Here's what she had to say:

What inspired you to write this play?

I’ve always been interested in the private person/public figure dichotomy. How much does it matter, and to whom, if someone who does good things on the public stage has made mistakes in her personal life? And who is to judge what constitutes a “mistake?” In this internet age, when very little remains private and hyperbole, both positive and negative, is rampant, how do we take the measure of a man (or in the case of my play, a woman)? I wanted to look at the fall from grace of my main character, Jean Remner, a well-known playwright and humanitarian, and explore how it affects her career, her friendships, her family and of course, Jean herself. No easy answers are forthcoming, but ((hopefully) a number of thought-provoking questions are raised.

Is it based on a real person or event?

No. But you only have to access the news in any of the ubiquitous media to learn of someone well-known who has been found, rightly or wrongly, to have done something blameworthy.

Have you ever been in position similar to the one in which the protagonist finds herself?

No, thank heavens. But it could happen to any of us.

Are there any plans for it to be produced in the future?

Not at the moment, but I have fingers and toes crossed.

Tell us a little about the excerpt we will be seeing on Monday.

Jean has agreed, at the urging of her damage-control publicist, to appear on a radio talk show to address the allegations being made against her, but the interview goes unexpectedly awry when the host sensationalizes the conversation.

Anything else you would like to say about Naked, or to preface it for the people who will see the excerpt on Monday?

Can’t think of anything right now.

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