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Two Women on a Precipice

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Karin Fazio Littlefield
June 24, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright.

What is your show about?
Two women standing at the edge of an abyss preparing to leap into the void.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I am interested in creating theatre that explores absurd or heightened realities where the banal runs alongside the profound. I want to bring to the stage plays in which the elements of the ordinary break down or leak, where the characters and situations are simultaneously recognizable and foreign. I also want to create strong roles for women that incorporate philosophical issues in an exciting, different, intense and immediate way.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
The unabashed immediacy and intimacy of theatre. The irreproducible nature of it. The thrill that each performance is its own entity. You cannot relive a theatrical experience. With film and TV, you can return to that same film or show and though you may find new things in it, it is only because you have changed since last viewing it and not because the piece itself has changed. Revisiting theatre incorporates both the changes in yourself and the new incarnation of the work. To have seen one Macbeth is not to have seen Macbeth but to have seen one night of one incarnation of Macbeth. And yet theatre is also immortal in that you can forever remount it. It is this combination of the ephemeral and the enduring that moves and fascinates me.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
From Sophocles to Woody Allen, men have been portrayed as struggling with the nature of God, often screaming to the heavens, demanding to know what is the point (or the punch line). But where are the women who suffer from cosmic bafflement and terror? Struggling with the mysteries of the universe is not a uniquely male dilemma; it is a uniquely human dilemma. And yet the tragicomedy of this human predicament only seems to manifest on stage with male characters. Why aren't women portrayed talking about God and the nature of existence? Certainly thoughts of God, evil, hell and death go through a woman’s mind as well. It has plagued me that Beckett so vehemently opposed women acting in Waiting for Godot. Why couldn’t women play those roles? Beckett gave the rather pathetic response that women don’t have prostates. I’m sorry, but the prostate is too small a gland on which to hang the difference. “Two Women on a Precipice” did not develop in an attempt to create a “woman’s” Godot but rather it was sparked by Beckett’s reaction to the idea of women playing in Godot. I wanted to create a piece in which women were talking about God, existence, hell and control. And my women are not passive; they act and take responsibility for their actions.

Which cartoon character would you identify your show with: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Marge Simpson?
I think both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck could relate to the plight of Two Women. Maybe Daffy Duck a little bit more. You might want to see Duck Amuck before seeing Two Women on a Precipice.

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
Diversity is essential. Two women on a Precipice presents female characters who are struggling with ideas that are typically the purview of men. I am not interested in toeing the line or perpetuating stereotypes. My hope is to cross boundaries, obscure lines, and enhance the ambiguity of everything, including how we categorize one another.