We're gearing up for week 2 of Partial Comfort's Welcome Mat series. For the next 3 Sundays in January (all at 7pm at The Wild Project), Partial Comfort presents original plays featuring the talents of many of our company members and guest artists from the New York theater scene.
To follow last week's presentation of THE ASHES by Thomas Bradshaw, this week we're fortunate to present THE SUBJECT, written by the talented Chisa Hutchinson.
Chisa's plays have been produced across the New York theater landscape: the Lark, The BE Company, Working Man's Clothes, and the Atlantic Theater Company to name a few. As you will see in this Sunday's reading of THE SUBJECT, according to Chisa her works "tend to probe social issues". Her play SHE LIKE GIRLS, produced by the Lark and also Working Man's Clothes, was inspired by the killing of a young lesbian in Newark. Chisa received a GLAAD Award on account of her success in writing SHE LIKE GIRLS.
To give you a little sneak preview of what's in store for the Welcome Mat this Sunday, here's what Chisa had to say about THE SUBJECT and her experience as a playwright in New York.
1. First off, we're very excited to have THE SUBJECT as one of the readings in this year's Welcome Mat. Can you give us a little teaser on the play for those of us that weren't a part of the retreat last summer?
So there's this documentarian, Phil, who's garnered a lot of attention and some pretty big awards because he filmed a kid who was in the process of joining a gang. Some bad shit happens and Phil is left to confront his own culpability in the matter at the height of his success.
2. What inspired the play? Has this been something you've had in the works for awhile?
Bunch of stuff. It started about four years ago when I saw a journalist "be homeless" for two weeks as one of her "pieces". If I could fit more quotation marks into that description, I would. That's how much that one chafes me. It's like that famous photo of the little girl who's obviously starving; she's struggling, crawling across a barren landscape with a vulture hovering ominously in the background and this dude snaps a photo. He admitted waiting for twenty minutes for the vulture to spread its wings before he did. The little girl died. The man won a Pulitzer. And later committed suicide. I just find it fascinating in the worst way when people forfeit their humanity in the name of art. Kind of defeats the purpose of art.
3. New York has seen a lot of your work in Off-Broadway theaters. What have been a few of the meaningful experiences as a theater artist in the city?
The absolute most meaningful experience I've had so far was finally getting my Ma--a staunchly Christian woman-- to come see SHE LIKE GIRLS, my play about young inner-city lesbians. After having virtually nothing to say about the play for a few days--immediately after the performance, she just turned to me and went, "Where do you come up with this stuff?"--she left me a voicemail letting me know that she'd been thinking about it and was proud. That was three years ago and still nothing tops it. But I feel that whenever a bunch of people get together around an idea that I had and try to realize it-- on whatever budget, in whatever venue, in whatever format--it's meaningful. It's kind of a miracle, actually.
4. Anything in the pipeline that you'd like us to know about?
Oh yeah. I've got a BE Company production of a play about an on-the-hush dominatrix called SEX ON SUNDAY (OR HOW TO MAKE A MAN STAY, BEG AND ROLL OVER) opening at Urban Stages mid-March. That's gonna be a hoot. And then my first musical, a piece for young folks about a mischievous kid who finds focus in music called TUNDE'S TRUMPET opening with City Parks' Summerstage in July. I'm getting to collaborate with some really great folks for that including Sarah Gancher, a brilliant writer and lyricist, and my brother, Elliot Goldman, who is making music as I type this. Go, man, go.
Come check out THE SUBJECT by Chisa Hutchinson, this Sunday, January 16 at 7pm at the Wild Project - 195 E. 3rd Street between Avenues A and B. Admission is FREE.