The excerpts below are from the article “Paging the Playwright: A Conversation with Karen Zacarias” published by Arena Stage. To read the full article click here.
THE BOOKS AND QUESTIONS IN THE PLAY
David: How many books are read in the course of the play?
Karen: There are six meetings, so there are six books that are supposed to be read, but about 30 books are mentioned.
Pablo: How did you choose the books read in the play?
Karen: First, they couldn’t be unknown. The popular ones are The Da Vinci Code – one of the top ten most popular books in the world. Even if it’s old, a lot of people have read it. Twilight is not just a book, it’s a phenomenon, like Harry Potter. I also knew I had to find a book about people feeling trapped and not being able to breathe and when I came across Age of Innocence, I knew it was perfect. Moby Dick because it’s a dense, hard read, and everybody feels they know Moby Dick. It’s a great American classic, but if you ask who has read Moby Dick, very few people have. They’re all American books. It took a lot of time to figure out, and there’s still a part of me that’s thinks, “Oh, is Twilight too current. In ten years will this play be irrelevant?” But I’ll worry about that later.
Pablo: What are the questions that the film maker asks in the play?
Karen: “What had the biggest impact on you as a young kid?” I find that to be a great blog question. Everybody has an answer for that – or “What book that changed your life?” Because oddly enough The Da Vinci Code changes Will’s life.
Amrita: What other questions do you think the play raises?
Karen: Why do people come to theater? What’s the last good book you read? A good book will do two things – it will make you feel connected to the characters and it will make you feel connected to real people. Continue reading