Thursday, January 26, 2017

Spotlight On...Gracie Gardner

Name: Gracie Gardner

Why theater?: It's a living, breathing animal.

Tell us about Pussy Sludge: I always know my clinical depression is back when the thought "humor isn't funny" occurs to me. This show is about everything that happens before that thought. It's about a woman who gets stuck in a swamp.

What inspired you to write Pussy Sludge?:  I went to sleep on election night after the returns had come in and had this dream that crude oil was gushing out of me. Then I wrote the play. It’s a love letter to a nightmare. It’s about overcoming shame, the freedom of isolation, and asking for pleasure without knowing what that looks like.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that changes my mind or gives me a new thought or makes me feel something. It usually involves leaving a dark theater nauseated, overwhelmed, and crying. John by Annie Baker did all those things for me. The subway ride home after that show was embarrassing. Disturbing images that won’t go away usually fuel writing for me. I’m in awe of artists like Banana Yoshimoto, Vera Chytilova, Leonora Carrington, Kate Tempest, Zadie Smith, Pipilotti Rist, and Isabel Allende. I’m fortified by my friends who are making ruthless, social theater. Right now I’m inspired by Skylar, the director of Pussy Sludge, who is challenging me to be kinder to myself, my work, and others.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: I'm lucky enough to live down the street from my role model, Isabel. She's my best friend, and I’m always trying to get her to work with me. In essence, she is the ideal human being, and there are things about her that I aspire to, like taking exercise class and finishing books in a timely way, and things I know I never will be able to come near, like her matchless power of word choice and uncanny foresight. But at the end of the day, it's her combination of kindness and brain power that makes her the person I most often look up to. I think when you start from a place of compassion and understanding, everything becomes more honest, more humorous, and more intelligent, so I think she’d be a great collaborator. She's the first person I text when I don't know what to do. We’ve done short things together, but maybe one day I will convince her to make a show with me.

What shows have you recommended to your friends?: Three Bitches by Lauren Mui, Reluctant to Burn by Korde Tuttle, and A Slow Boil by Tanya Everett.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Larry Pine would play me, and it would be called "Dangerously Polite."

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I missed my friend Beth Hyland's senior thesis because I had a ruptured ovary. I would go back and see that.

What's your biggest guilty pleasure?: Criticizing things I love.

If you weren't working in theater, what would you be _____?:  Going home after my day job and eating sandwiches and watching movies and writing.

What's up next?: Making a play about where radio lives and another about falling in love with a sarcastic dog.