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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Apr 7, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 649: Ryann Weir

Ryann Weir

Hometown: Wilmette, Illinois

Current Town: Brooklyn, New York

Q:  Tell me about DEBUTANTE.

A:  DEBUTANTE. is a play about a group of heiresses who are expected to debut into high society but turn out to be pretty bad at it. They ride bikes late at night, overdose on TAB soda and Jazzercise to the famed soap opera "Dynasty" all while studying at Ms. Peasgood’s School for Etiquette and practicing deep, lady-like curtsies. They also dig through the trash to find their retainers when necessary.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  In June I’m doing two shows at Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, which is going to be super fun!

The first show is called I Heard Sex Noises, which I co-authored and perform in along side superstars: Andrew Farmer and Claire Rothrock. Direction by my theater-making-partner-in-crime and dear pal: the incomparable Annie Tippe. I Heard Sex Noises is about a coup d’etat in the Roosevelt Island gardening society. High drama. Hydrangeas.

The second show is called Sketch Tragedy, written by comedy wizard: Matt Gehring. I’ll be acting in that show which is structured like a sketch comedy show but sketches end in…you guessed it…tragedy!

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 grew up in a kind of idyllic, stuffy suburb of Illinois where the neighbor kids played kick the can on Summer nights and rode bikes in the day. The kids ran things in the Summer because in that part of the mid-west, winter lasts for 90% of the year so by June everyone was mental.

Lauren Wiscomb was my next-door neighbor and childhood best friend. We had matching bowl haircuts and listened to Ace of Base songs more often than we didn’t listen to Ace of Base songs. We made our own fun.

Particularly in a game we invented called CASE. Inspired by a heavy diet of Harriet the Spy and Nancy Drew novels, CASE was a game where Lauren and I made up crimes that happened on our block and then walked around trying to solve them. We were like two little Jerry Orbachs hovering over a crack in the sidewalk, trying to get to the bottom of it. Many cases involved a neighborhood cat called Poon who subsisted primarily on Kraft singles. But then there were more mysteries involving our poor siblings Abby and Dylan. We had a book where we recorded everything in- leads, suspects, evidence et al.

When Case had been exhausted for the day, Lauren and I would create harnesses and bungee jumping cords for our stuffed animals and throw them out the window. We always had a spotter downstairs knowing full well the detrimental consequences of bungee related stuffed animal fatalities. We thrilled at their daring and lived vicariously through pink bunnies and monkeys with button eyes who had more courage than we did.

Q:  Who are your theatrical heroes?

A:  Oh Will Eno is my favorite. And everything David Cromer does. And Cherry Jones and Amy Morton. Rachel Chavkin, Anne Kaufman, The Debate Society. Too many to count.

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

A:  One word. Plastics.

Q:  Plugs, please:




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