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To help get you excited for Page 73’s upcoming production of LIDLESS, we asked playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig for a moment of her time before she hopped on a train from Texas to New York (really!) to begin rehearsals.
What was the first scene of LIDLESS that you wrote?
The scene in which Alice, the interrogator, uses a tactic called “Invasion of Space by a Female” to get Bashir, the Muslim detainee, to stop escaping her interrogations through prayer.
What’s the significance of the title?
If you don’t have eyelids you are forced to always see the consequences of your actions.
This play deals in part with politics. Were you concerned about being “balanced”?
I was concerned about making sure each character had great conflict and complexity, but not too concerned about political balance.
What are your goals for this production?
To have interesting, dynamic collaborations with amazing artists.
What is exciting about working with Page 73 on this production?
They actually listen to me and also let me choose the director.
What does it mean to have your work produced professionally in NewYork for the first time?
It means I get to work with amazing artists who the smaller theatres that produce my work in other parts of the country wouldn’t be able to afford because they would have to fly them out and put them up.
What do you consider the highest compliment you could receiveas a playwright?
Probably ones from teenagers struggling with despair, depression or apathy who find a way to “wake up,” or see/think differently during their experience of the play.
What do you think are the key challenges facing emerging playwrights in America today?
Timidity, giving the existing system too much credit, insufficient funds, despair, and insular lives.
What’s next for you?
Moving back to Austin, Texas and figuring out how to work in wage slavery as little as possible and do what I want as much as possible.