Thursday, September 17, 2015
Spotlight On...Elle Anhorn
Hometown: North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Education: Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, QC) – B.A. (Theatre / Music); Circle in the Square Theatre School (New York, NY)
Favorite Credits: “Uncomfortable” – Hall Pass (2015); “Hey Ruby” – Play/Date (2014); and the first play I wrote back in university, The Body Issues of Judy MacDonald, will always be a favorite because it reminds me of when I first fell in love with playwriting.
Why theater?: Writing for theater is a dynamic and endlessly challenging process. I love writing words that are meant to be spoken aloud, because it means I get to make use of all the melodic highs and lows, the rhythmic variation, and the subtleties of tone and intent that a voice can provide. Writing dialogue that sounds natural is a difficult task and one for which the rules are constantly evolving. It makes the creative process feel fresh and different every time.
Tell us about The Cunt: The Cunt is a contemporary adaptation of William Wycherley’s The Country Wife – a bawdy, sexy English comedy from the Restoration Era. I’ve brought the language into 2015, traded London for New York, and expanded the story’s (already liberal) take on gender and sexual behavior to include some LGBT representation and two female protagonists/love interests. I’ve also added a narrator - a burlesque dancer who twirls her tassels and speaks in verse (sometimes simultaneously)!
What inspired you to write The Cunt: One of my favorite things about The Country Wife is the sexual agency that the play’s “women of honor” are shown to possess. Their opinions on female sexual freedom are surprisingly modern for a play written in 1675, and I was interested in taking that aspect of the original and expanding on it while also widening the scope of the story to include a queer perspective.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like theater that pulls no punches: Sharp, biting dialogue, complicated and flawed protagonists, and visceral imagery that makes use of all five senses (think Judith Thompson or Sarah Kane). I’m also a fan of productions that place me in the center of the action with immersive or interactive elements.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Bridget Everett, in any capacity.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Anything written by Sam D. Hunter since the fateful day I was absolutely wrecked by The Whale.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I’m crossing my fingers that either Krysten Ritter or Lizzy Caplan agree to star in "Graceless: The Girl With No Spatial Awareness".
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Patti Smith and Sam Shepard, Cowboy Mouth (1971)… or Philip Seymour Hoffman in anything.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: The first two seasons of The OC.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Building myself a 2015 version of Peggy Olsen’s career.
What’s up next?: Auditions and submissions, 24/7. I’m working on a contemporary version of Richard III, as well as an original piece that I’ve been keeping on the backburner until after my Spicy Witch season ends. I am also a burlesque performance artist and regularly appear around the city under the name Seedy Edie. I have several half-created acts that are waiting to be refined and debuted, once I have a few more hours in the day!
For more on Elle, visit elleanhorn.com