Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 669: Mac Wellman



Mac Wellman

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio.

Current Town: Brooklyn, NY.

Q: Tell me about your upcoming reading at New Works Brooklyn.

A: Apropos of THE OFFENDING GESTURE:

Item.
In Helsinki in 1941 Tor Borg’s dog, named Jackie, was able to perform the Nazi salute– when his master said “Heil Hitler”. Somehow this came to be known by the Germans, who were outraged, and summoned a meeting to discuss the matter with Finnish authorities. (This scene is presented in the play.)

Item.
Iraq was indeed created by one Winston Churchill in the 20's. It can be argued that it is an unworkable nation as such, and never ought to have been made in the first place as the three main nationalities (Sunfish, Shits and Turds in the doggish world) of Sunnie, Shiites, and Kurds have little in common but a palpable hostility.

Item.
Adolf does mean “Noble Wolf”, and his favorite joke is the one recounted, and likewise for his favorite movie. The legend of the “Corn-wulf” is an old German one, and Germany is “The Land of Evening”.

Item.
But the dogs however sweet and loveable are not much when it comes to abstract thinking– their logic is sincere, but very doggish. Jackie’s desire to save Finland from invasion by redirecting Noble Wolf’s ire elsewhere is however understandable. Churchill’s bulldog “Wuffles” is, as she reveals a fabrication, but as such it does the job.

Item.
The Nazi party was indeed the first party of No– as Noble Wolf admitted on several occasions, but it surely was not the last. Oddly, Noble Wolf and his top Nazis wrote down very little– they knew it might not be wise considering many of their policies. Hence, the strange practice known as “working towards the leader” which involved trying to intuitively grasp what the Leader (Fuhrer) wanted done.

Item.
The moon cats observed and comment on the dogs’ predicament with a mixture of scorn and sympathy. I imagine I’d ask either Michael Roth or David Van Tieghem to do the music. Once that is done we’d figure out how too split up the moon-cats’ tercets

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:   Taking notes on various things, poetry and a novel, not a play. And a Morphology of Small Errors (political)....

Q:  What can you tell me about the MFA program you run at Brooklyn College?

A:  You should ask others about this as well! I have little regard for notions of "creative writing", and try to get students to learn how to think (no one can teach them how to write!) and how to learn on their own, but as part of a generation (their own).

Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I once walked around our house backwards because according to my parents I "wanted to see what it looks like".

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Invent ways of doing theater that were not dependent on a craven and mediocre press. Furthermore, the corporate obsession with the bottom-line is a terrible problem with our theater.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Just look at the folks you interview

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater that is alive in the moment....

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Don't listen to your elders-- except obviously for me.

Q: Plugs, please:

A: Recent ones: Benson, Burke, Jarcho, Stess-- all terrific.


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1 comment:

travexas said...

God bless Mac Wellman. One of my heroes, now and forever.