Back in October, TCG published Sex Plays, a single volume of two new plays Eric Bogosian, one of America’s premier performers and most innovative and provocative artists. Skunkweed details the culture clash between a L.A. screenwriter and a working-class girl and her rural Florida clan in a hotel room. 1 + 1, which premiered at the New York Stage & Film in 2008, explores desire, greed and responsibility to others through the lives of an aspiring actress, assistant restaurant manager and a photographer.
The playwright was kind enough to share a few thoughts on his new duo of plays.
Julie Haverkate: What was the impetus behind pairing these two plays – Skunkweed and 1 + 1 – and grouping them under the title Sex Plays?
Eric Bogosian: Both plays deal with the ethics of sex. And both feature characters who believe they haven’t done anything wrong. The sexual arena is where our greatest emotions are unleashed. But that’s because “sex” represents so much, particularly one’s own sense of self-worth.
Julie Haverkate: Is your process different when writing a play as opposed to writing a monologue for yourself to perform?
Eric Bogosian: I always begin with a theme, a question. When writing a monologue, I usually improv with a tape recorder and work my way into the writing that way. With plays, I simply try to let the characters of my imagination have conversations with one another and then take note of what they say. I am of the “headlights peering into the dark road” school of writing. I don’t always know where I’m going, but I know I’m on a road.
Eric Bogosian has received three OBIE awards, and has toured throughout the country. His other well-known pieces include the solo performances FunHouse and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee and the full-length plays Griller, Red Angel and Humpty Dumpty. He is the author of two novels, Mall and Wasted Beauty, and a novella, Notes from Underground. 100, a collection of monologues, commemorating thirty years of Bogosian’s solo-performance career, will be published by TCG in 2013. As an actor, he has appeared in numerous films and television programs, starring in Robert Altman’s The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, Woody Allen’s Oscar-nominated Deconstructing Harry (1997) and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2006-2010). (Photo of Eric Bogosian by Susan Johann).
Julie Haverkate is the marketing associate at Theatre Communications Group. Previously, she has worked at Meadow Brook Theatre (Rochester, MI), as well as in the literary offices of Electric Pear Productions and the Summer Play Festival in NYC. Julie has lectured and presented at conferences internationally, and her book, PARADE Diverges, was published by VDM. In addition to dramaturging every now and again, she also reviews for Show Business and Broadway World and writes the blog Critical Confabulations. She is a proud alumna of Florida State University (M.A. Theatre Studies). Twitter: @Critical Confab.