#selfie 4: lauren f. (with questions by mariah m.)

Lauren previewed her Fringe draft of SOMEWHERE SAFER this week and then was ruthlessly grilled by Mariah MacCarthy about life, feminism, and the best ways to eat an avocado.
 
#selfies are an ongoing interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview one another. They have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, for the sake of being meta.
 
MARIAH M. You know I’m slightly obsessed with your Fringe play, SOMEWHERE SAFER. Why this play, why now? 
 
LAUREN F. There are a lot of answers to that – I guess the simplest one is that the play is very relevant in ways that I wish it wasn’t.  I have a distinct memory of penning the first ten pages of the play about a month before Occupy Wall Street took over Zuccotti Park, and the going-on two years since then have pushed a lot of the play’s questions about citizenship and power to the forefront of our national conversation.  
 
On the other hand, I think we should always be asking ourselves how we can be better citizens, and more political.  It sets my teeth on edge when people start sentences with “I’m not usually political,” because, yes, you are. We all are – deeply political because political decisions end up coming back to us and affecting us.  
 
MARIAH M. Tell me about your Fringe collaborators and how you found each other. 
 
LAUREN F. Deborah Wolfson, our director, was the first person who greenlighted the play’s development with its original home, On the Square Productions. We have been working together on it for about a year and a half, through four closed readings and two public readings.  Jen Kipley and Yvette Kojic, our fabulous producing team, are friends and colleagues of mine who jumped on board with enthusiams and verve. Our actors. God. I love our actors. But I can’t talk about them yet because we haven’t officially press-released them.  Suffice to say they are an intimidatingly smart and extraordinary bunch of people.
 
MARIAH M. Favorite way to eat an avocado?
 
LAUREN F. Guacamole. My staple food. It’s not even a joke. It’s pretty much my whole diet.
 
MARIAH M. A theater experience that made you uncomfortable in a good way?
 
LAUREN F. Ooh, that’s a really good question. Clybourne Park, actually. I bit my nails the whole way through, then left with a soaring heart and a troubled mind.
 
MARIAH M. You and I are both very vocal feminists. What relationship does your feminism have with your work?  
 
LAUREN F. Feminism is everything to my work. I went through a long period in my early twenties where I didn’t write at all because I had this idea that I didn’t deserve to talk about anything and didn’t know enough to be an authority on any topic.   Not writing made me miserable, so I started writing. But that period of feeling like I didn’t have a voice – feeling silenced in some way – I will never forget that.  Throughout history, women have been silenced and oppressed in ways so ingrained in culture that we are only now starting to understand them.  We have silenced and oppressed each other, and we have silenced and oppressed ourselves.  
 
We create our world through language.  Laws are language, speeches are language – second to speaking, writing is the most powerful tool ever created to change the world. So much of the harm done to women begins in the language itself.  In my work, I constantly hope to examine language and examine how we talk about each other, how we talk about the world, and what we can do to start to shift our notions of gender and power through ideas and language.
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