Jun 18 2013
Last weekend we presented readings of plays by four Writers Group playwrights. This weekend we’ll finish off the Writers Group Showcase with readings by the other four. Among the playwrights read this weekend will be Scot Augustson (who you met last week), and Vincent Delaney, who is interviewed by Augustson below. This is the seventh interview in a series of eight.
SA: Tell us what show you’re putting up in the showcase and just a little about how it came to be.
VD: The Ansel Intimacy is set in a dystopian near future where those who are lucky have Sharers, who are grown to provide them with replacement organs. The world of the play is a bit like Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, but in this case the focus is on a sixty-year relationship between an “owner” and his Sharer. That relationship gets more and more complex over time.
I wrote the play for two fantastic actors, Ray Tagavilla and Aaron Blakely. The impetus came about more or less randomly—I admire them both, turns out they knew each other, and somehow it came out that they hadn’t worked together since college. Right then I got a vibe that I could make something awesome for these guys.
SA: So, you wrote it specifically for those two actors. Was it easier, harder or just different writing with someone in mind? Did you hear them when you wrote the dialogue?
VD: This play went really fast—December 2012, with a good draft by early January. That had a huge amount to do with writing for these specific actors. I heard their voices from start to finish, and once I understood the structure of the play—each section moves forward fifteen years in time—shaping the story became easier. My biggest worry was that I’d bring them a draft and they wouldn’t be excited. I think that came because I was personally very excited writing it.
SA: I’m guessing these guys have some on stage chemistry. What makes for good chemistry on stage? How is it different when actors really click on stage?
VD: Not sure, other than the role of surprise in the process. The scary good actors love unknown moments. It’s a level of trust that puts everyone into a place of total freedom and danger. Moments can really crackle when everyone onstage trusts each other that much. I haven’t seen that too often, but it happens.
SA: What are the challenges of bringing science fiction to the stage?
VD: The challenge of this play, with just three actors, is to create the outside world, the society that changes over 60 years. The great dystopias always shape worlds that are heartstoppingly real and internally consistent. My challenge is to do it in a play, not a novel, and with three actors. What’s going on offstage, and how do I keep it plausible, consistent, but make sure it evolves?
I think all of that—plus the staging, doing it all with doors on wheels—pushes the play into a space that’s intimate, political, but also weirdly epic. It’s a huge challenge and very very fun.
Join us for a reading of Delaney’s play The Ansel Intimacy on Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. in our PONCHO Forum. Tickets are free, but we strongly encourage you to reserve them in advance by calling our Box Office at 206.443.2222. Don’t forget to RSVP to the Facebook event! See you there.