Apr 14, 2010
I Interview Playwrights Part 145: Anton Dudley
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec.
Current Town: Brooklyn, New York.
Q: Tell me about the play you have coming up at Theater Row.
A: Several years ago, before the media had really focused its attention on the AIDS crisis in Africa, I saw several articles appear in the back of some high end women's fashion magazines about women and AIDS in remote parts of the continent. I started to question the context of where our information about the rest of the world came from. I am constantly amazed how, as Americans, we have to completely victimize a community before we start to take action to care for them (think of how civil rights movements were/are galvanized around slavery, AIDS, natural disasters, rape, etc.). I think it is our nature to objectify the "other" - I wanted to obliterate the idea of "other" altogether in this play and really understand what it means for us to share the planet equally as human beings.
Q: What else are you up to?
A: My pop musical TINA GIRLSTAR (written with Charlie Sohne and Brian Feinstein) is being developed by commercial producer Olympus Theatricals. My cabaret musical THE RE-HYDRATION OF EDITH PILAF (written with Charlie Sohne and Keith Gordon) is currently in development. I am under commission from the Cherry Lane Theatre to write a new work, and I recently completed two new plays, one which was developed with MCC Theatre and Partial Comfort Productions, the other at the Lark Play Development Center, co-written with Arthur Kopit. My play GETTING HOME which premiered at Secondstage Theatre Uptown will be published next year in an anthology by Vintage Books.
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 had a stuffed bear named Teddy and a stuffed cat named Kitty . . . one of my favorite puppets as a child was a unicorn - a woman in the grocery store asked me his name, I responded Horny - the group of adults around me laughed hysterically and I went home and cried. My Mum said maybe he could have a more formal name in public, so I named him Prince Albert - this got an equally vicious guffaw. From then on when I was asked his name, I would answer, "you have to get to know him really well first, only then will I tell you."
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: Abolish entirely its relationship to commerce.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: Theatre that is cheaply produced and embraces the coexistence of beauty and horror, humor and pain.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Work constantly, do everything you can in theatre: direct, act, design, produce, choreograph, and for fork's sake read: all of this will make you a better writer. Find an artistic home or two where you can always return when you doubt yourself. Make a lot of friends, real ones, it's a small world - chose to love and be loved.
Q: Plugs, please:
A: Sorry, I'm not a doctor, but I hear Propecia works pretty well.