Tuesday, April 05, 2016

I Interview Playwrights Part 824: Jordan Hall


Jordan Hall

Hometown: Waterdown, Ontario

Current Town: Vancouver, British Columbia

Q:  What are you working on now? 

A:  I'm doing the final polishes on How to Survive an Apocalypse, which is premiering in Vancouver at the Firehall Arts Centre in June. I'm also researching and writing the first draft of a piece titled Rate of Loss, which is about our relationship to biodiversity, which is scheduled for production with Up in the Air Theatre in 2017 or 2018.

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

A:  In the second grade, I convinced an alarming number of my school friends that we had to prepare for an actual alien invasion. Largely, I suspect, because whenever we played "Unicorns", I was forced to play "Mommy Unicorn", which was tedious. For weeks, we stockpiled supplies (i.e. snacks) in the back of the classroom, as I was forced to come up with increasingly complex explanations for the delayed landfall of the invaders. Eventually, of course, the whole fiction collapsed in a flurry of tears, recriminations, and moldy baby carrots. I consider it a cautionary tale about the amount of effort it would take to start a cult.

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

A:  I've got two, and I consider them to be linked and of equal importance. I would like to see more theatre artists (and artists, and really everybody) making a secure living wage. And I would like to see a theatrical producing culture that represents the diversity of contemporary society--gender equity, racial diversity, LGBTQ-representation. I think we all have to do a better job being advocates for ourselves and for others.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:  Beyond the obvious? Aphra Behn. Caryl Churchill. Naomi Wallace. Tom Stoppard. Michael Frayn. Christopher Fry.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

A:  Anything that I can see striving to engage both my heart and my mind. Anything that wants to use form to create revelations about content. Anything that wants me to go away puzzling and thinking and wanting to do better. Anything with a female protagonist who is a fully-developed human being with her own narrative concerns. Anything that shows me a truth I knew, but in a way I didn't know to tell it. Anything full of voices I haven't heard, saying new and dangerous things. Anything that tricks me, fair and square. Also anything with superheroes or physicists or rollercoasters. I'm a sucker for rollercoasters.

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

A:  Get up every morning and crack yourself open to see if there's something in there worth a damn. If there isn't, write (and read and live) until there is.

Q:  Plugs, please: 

A:  If you're in Vancouver, you can get tickets for How to Survive an Apocalypse at: http://firehallartscentre.ca/onstage/how-to-survive-an-apocalypse/


Otherwise, I can always be found at:
web: www.jordanhall.ca
twitter: @save_my_script


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