Lucky, lucky me I get to interview Mariah MacCarthy about Caps Lock Theatre’s upcoming fundraising event Pussyfest III The Reckoning. I’m happy to say that my Pussyfest shirt arrived in the mail today and I am wearing it as we speak. Y’all prepare to break the 11th commandant, thou shall not covet thy neighbors t-shirt.
Mariah, Pussyfest is upon us. Can you talk us through the festival and just how exactly it works, how it all comes together? Why is a show like this important both to your company Caps Lock Theatre but also the great indie community?
MM: Basically, Leta (my co-artistic director) and I pick out 60 playwrights we like and 60 actresses we like and pair them together randomly. Then the playwright writes a custom-made monologue about the body for that actress. We give four-five monologues at a time to directors, then the pieces get rehearsed and are performed, script-in-hand, one time only, over the course of three entirely different nights. (We also have musical guests opening the show each night, so come early!) It comes together through endless, endless email. Seriously. If I earned a penny for every email message labeled “Pfest” in Gmail, we wouldn’t even need to do the fundraiser because I’d be rich rich rich.
Pussyfest is one of my favorite things to happen all year. It ends up being magnificently empowering almost by accident. We tell playwrights up front, look, this isn’t The Vagina Monologues, your piece does NOT have to be about vaginas or women’s empowerment. But because the monologues are so diverse, we get to see a huge range of what women can do onstage, which sadly isn’t the case at most plays. It brings together a huge number of people (one hundred and forty artists!) in the name of playing and kickass actresses.
Not only that, but the monologues are so good. SO good. I can be impartial because I didn’t write one this year. They’re funny and sad and sexy and silly and poetic and guttural and just brilliant across the board. You WILL be entertained.
Pussyfest is my Christmas. Ho ho ho, mother fuckers.
This will be my first Pussyfest can you fill me in on what I’ve missed in years past and tell the world why,aside from the full force of the Lather Rinse Repeat playwrights behind you, The Reckoning will be the best yet?
The Reckoning is the biggest Pussyfest we’ve had. Last year we only did 40 monologues. This year it’s up to 60. I also was somehow able to convince brilliant writers like Jose Rivera, Mike Daisey, Sheila Callaghan, and Winter Miller to write for us this year, so I’m totally starstruck.
This year’s Pussyfest is bigger, badder, and it’s like a well-oiled machine at this point – in past years I’ve done Pussyfest all by my lonesome; this year I have not only Leta, I also have two Associate Producers, Sarah Matteucci and Daniel John Kelley (who are also Pussyfest artists and alumni!), and they are just God damn wonderful. They’re the bees’ knees. They’re the meatballs to my spaghetti.
Not that you would ever play favorites but are there any playwright/actor/combos you’re most excited about?
It’s an embarrassment of riches, really. Playing favorites is nearly impossible. But indie geek theater demigod Mac Rogers wrote a monologue for Cathy Curtin of Orange Is the New Black involving a whip, and it’s delicious. Our own Isaac Rathbone wrote a monologue for Lilli Stein involving a violin solo, which I can’t wait to hear. Diana Oh is performing an absolutely filthy monologue by Don Nguyen called STANLEY MOTHERFUCKING KOWALSKI and I can’t wait to hear that either. If you get me started on this game I’ll never be able to stop so I might as well stop now, because they are ALL so damn exciting.
If you had access to every playwright, actor, and director in the world what’s the greatest combo you could ever imagine?
Oh man, and I can only choose one of each? I’d write a monologue for Greta Gerwig and have Sam Gold direct it. Somebody make this happen.
What does the future hold for Pussyfest and Caps Lock?
Everything raised at Pussyfest goes to the remount of my immersive site-specific apartment party play, Mrs. Mayfield’s Fifth-Grade Class of ’93 20-Year Reunion!
It’s happening in Williamsburg in January 2015; make sure you’re signed up for our mailing list
to get all the Caps Lock updates!
As for Pussyfest: There will soon be a Pussyfest CHANNEL! If you become a member of the Caps Lock Treehouse, you’ll have access to this channel, get free tickets to all our shows and fundraisers, and much, much more. More deets on that here