Bring A Weasel And A Pint Of Your Own Blood
Bring A Weasel And A Pint Of Your Own Blood
East 13th Street Theatre
136 East 13th St.
Weds. July 28, Thurs. July 29 & Fri. July 30 @ 7.30pm
Tickets: $18/15 students, reserve tickets at email@example.com
Mac Wellman's groundbreaking Brooklyn College MFA Playwrights adapt stories from The Apocrypha.
In Corina Copp's "Waltz," a woman is falsely accused, so an angel stands ready to cut judges in two: so goes divine justice. Photo by Jamie Siegel.
Written and produced by playwrights from Mac Wellman's groundbreaking Brooklyn College MFA program, the Weasel festival is fast becoming an exciting platform for America's rising playwrights to create experimental, irreverent and explosive new work. Each playwright will riff off the stories of The Apocrypha – the infamous religious texts that didn't make the Bible's cut. Not decreed to be divinely inspired, the Apocrypha books are ancient Greek texts that were ripped and pasted back into the Bible throughout history. Filled with luminous stories of prophets, angels, intrigue and heresy, the off-the-record Apocrypha is the perfect inspiration for a festival of peculiar plays by playwrights working outside the canon. We talk to playwright Corina Copp about her play "Waltz."
Q. Tell me how you came to write this play.
A. First came [my professor] Mac Wellman and The Apocrypha. It was a coup: I wanted to adapt a short story by Heinrich Böll ("The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum"), but I wasn't convincing enough. It's understandable; there's a thing about Bible stories or in this case, Apocryphal stories, and the act of their retelling that positions them well theatrically. They already seem overheard, which allows for a lot of freedom. The Story of Susanna was the most appealing… I decided that Susanna and Katharina were similar - both under the gun. I wanted to adapt the story pretty literally - not word for word, but by plot point - to see how it shakes out now. Strangely though, the tension that might resonate from false accusation is leveled by other events in my play, if you can call watering flowers an event.
I really like to de-hierarchicalize, rather than heighten, so everything, every relationship, has the potential to become significant, or insignificant, depending. And I was listening to different versions of "The Tennessee Waltz" at the time - Sam Cooke, Elvis, Patsy Cline, Patti Page, and so on - and thought that the song, too, had a history and had gone through these emotional retellings. We have these amazing musicians in the cast, so the song is becoming an emotional center of the play, and this religious triptych - Daniel in the lion's den, the song of three children, Susanna - remains so rational.
Q. Can you describe what "Waltz" is about?
A. If anything, Susanna has been an object of desire forever, bathing in her garden and corrupting men's rational judgment. Which makes for good 2-D, sure, not opposed, but the play is about how exceptionally difficult it is to encounter someone with sincere spiritual belief when you yourself feel morally and spiritually vapid.
Q. What sort of other pop culture works is it in the vein of?
A. Tenn Waltz, as mentioned. I could source a story overheard as part of a performance I did for artist Yelena Gluzman at PS1, called Dear Diary, where I dressed in a bunny suit and this girl sat on my lap and whispered a tale into my ear about a mother frightening her children to death. That's not pop culture is it? I also watch a lot of movies at home by myself… my favorites are Margarethe von Trotta, Marguerite Duras, Chantal Akerman. Early 80s Euro movies about female friendship. Most of my playwriting deals with female friendship, so far.
Q. Tell me a little about the MFA at Brooklyn College.
A. It's boggling, honestly. How the hell are so many good writers coming out? I think even Mac Wellman wonders sometimes. It's very self-directed but personally held up by both Mac and Erin Courtney - pillars I tell ya. The legacy fuels us, if I can speak for all. Everyone's intensely motivated, and not simply in a careerist sense.
Q. What excites you most about Off-Broadway in 2010?
A. Have you seen that YouTube video of the dancing parrot?
Q. What or who is inspiring you right now?
A. Susanna, Meghan Finn, David Levine, Jean Day.
Q. Can you tell me a funny anecdote or nerve-racking moment from the rehearsal process?
A. At rehearsal today, Maya Ferrara channeled Patti Page, and we all fell down; actually Nick Capodice did fall off his chair. Her singing was like revolutionary soap-opera, or something, a space I had never been in, exactly beautiful! Exact. So excited.
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