EDINBURGH 2018: BWW Q&A- The Providence of Neighboring Bodies
BWW catches up with Jean Ann Douglass from Dutch Kills Theater Company to chat about bringing The Providence of Neighboring Bodies to the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Tell us a bit about The Providence of Neighboring Bodies.
Dora and Ronnie are two women with different flavors of social anxiety and loneliness, living next door to each other in apartments that have adjoining balconies. Ronnie rents out her couch to Jane, who becomes the new object of their need for connection, but also turns out to be a beaver. It gets complicated.
The play takes place mostly in the characters heads, with occasional flashes of how things are actually unfolding in the real world.
Is the beaver present onstage?
Eventually. We need her perspective on things, too.
What was the inspiration for the play?
I was thinking a lot about how larger societal issues manifest in tiny ways in our everyday lives; about how economic anxiety shapes friendships, prejudice directs conversations, and how our own fate is tied up in the fate of our communities. And I was also thinking about how the reverse is true, how the currents of society and history are directed by a collection of millions of small moments in seemingly uninfluential people's lives.
Who would you recommend comes to see it?
Whoever is interested in plays that respond to our current moment. People who love a good day drinking story. Fans of the absurdist. Women who know the anxiety of playing host. Beaver rights activists.
What do you hope audiences take away from it?
I don't think there's a 'correct' response to any play, so I always love to learn about the different things that audiences take away from plays (diversity is strength!). But for what it's worth, I think this play is deeply American, unapologetically feminine, and weaves personal and political themes together.
During the Fringe, there is so much running from one show to the next, and my greatest hope for my audience is that they give themselves time to reflect and chat about the play. Come find me at the theater bar. Let's talk.