The playwright who wrote Phoebe in Winter asked her former roommate, who happens to have written Year of the Rooster, a few questions. Here are his answers:

1) What was the best thing about being roomies?

Jen Silverman borrowed my jacket, but I’m pretty sure I once borrowed a pair of dress pants from her for a formal occasion. Also, she is unflappably kind in a way that humbles me.

 

2) What is your relationship, if any, to Baltimore?  How do you feel about your plays being produced here?  (really I am looking for a Baltimore tie-in with this question– Baltimore from the perspective of playwrights not from baltimore– feel free to take the answer wherever you want).

I know precisely three people from Baltimore: my girlfriend’s father, Jacob Ulrich, the kindly playwright Alex Borinsky, and filth all-father John Waters. All three are extraordinarily different, but they’re linked together by an attraction to weirdness and a central compassion towards others (even though I don’t think my girlfriend’s father really warmed up to me until our third or so encounter). I like to think that Rooster is equal parts weird and compassionate; I’m thrilled it has a home there.

 

3) What does your playwriting process look like, and does it have anything to do with how you play the same song on repeat for 45 minutes in the shower? (PS, you have great taste in music.)

It does, yes. I legitimately do need to have the same song/album playing on repeat while I’m writing. For Year of the Rooster, there was lots of Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West (for the ambiance), and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (for the anger). Both albums also include multiple adjectives in the title.

 

3) What does your playwriting process look like, and does it have anything to do with how you play the same song on repeat for 45 minutes in the shower? (PS, you have great taste in music.)

It does, yes. I legitimately do need to have the same song/album playing on repeat while I’m writing. For Year of the Rooster, there was lots of Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West (for the ambiance), and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (for the anger). Both albums also include multiple adjectives in the title.

 

4) How do you feel about the possibility of extraterrestrials, and/or do you think they built ancient and unwieldy things that still remain upon this earth like the pyramids / the grand canyon / the NYC subway?

I think the great Neil Degrasse Tyson said something along the lines of: “It would be unbelievably arrogant to expect that we are the only forms of intelligent life in the universe. But it would also be unbelievably arrogant to expect that they’ve had any contact with us whatsoever.“ So to answer your question: yes, aliens did build the Grand Canyon, definitely.

 

5) If you were a cautionary tale for children, what would you be?

This one:

H_Hoffmann_Struwwel_08

6) What are you reading right now, and how do you feel about it?

Every day I pass by the beaming maw of the Church of Scientology, and inspired by that, I’ve been reading Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. I recommend it, even if you’ve seen the film. I also just read The Christians by Lucas Hnath, which I really enjoyed, and attempted to imagine Andrew Garman onstage. I’m sad I can’t experience it in person.

Speaking of which…

7) What’s it like being a playwright in LA right now?

It’s eighty-one degrees outside. The sushi’s good but the pizza’s not. I miss New York’s pigeons.

It’s a strange town. I’m a lucky person. I’m subletting an apartment that contains lots of insect-related paraphernalia.

Speaking of which…

8) We both draw pictures on our scripts when we’re listening really hard, and it looks like we’re not, but actually we are. What do you find yourself drawing, these days? (Also, remember that time we made art projects during Hurricane Sandy?)

This is my current office wall:

dufault's office wall 3 dufault's office wall 2 dufault's office wall

 

9) Why do you think we both have plays with talking animals, and do you think it’s in any way related to our life under the same roof / the tap water we both drank?

I think we were both probably inspired by our third roommate: a magical talking cat who granted our every wildest desire.

10) Are there any stories about our landlady that you feel comfortable sharing?

Whenever we went downstairs to pay the rent (entirely in cash, by the way), she’d force upon us like three glasses of orange juice and five raisin pastries. She’d be genuinely offended if you tried to pass on her offerings, so I’d sit there watching indecipherable Greek TV with her and trying to discreetly stuff the shit in my pocket.

Also, she had a grandson who I’m pretty sure was a mute.

Also, she was super fucking racist.