The brilliant Mila G. brought her new play A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO CORPORATE SABOTAGE, to the LRR gathering last week, a superhuman feat given that she was also about to open NOVAYA ZEMLYA OR A STRANGE NEW LAND at FringeNYC. She and Jeremy even managed to find some time to put this little interview together.
#selfies are an ongoing interview series where Lather, Rinse, Repeat playwrights interview one another. They have free reign over the questions. The interviewee must then post an actual selfie, for the sake of being meta.
JEREMY W. I’m just getting to know your work and I’m wild about it. First pirates squabbling in hyper-piratese over a manipulative mermaid, now a verse satire of an ad agency where the upper side of the glass ceiling is possibly worse than below. How did this very contemporary play shape up like 119 perverse haikus?
MILA G. Before playwriting, I had an unsuccessful turn at spoken word. I quickly realized I loathed being on stage, performing for others and the sound of my own voice. However, I did enjoy short sentences, poetic turns of phrase and words that sound different then they read. This play utilizes some of those devices. Also, as a play about advertising, it seemed a natural fit for people to speak in taglines, catchphrase and jargon, rather than espousing deep thoughts.
As for the perverseness, corporate drudgery just asks for highly inappropriate behavior under conference room tables.
JEREMY W. You’ve said you write plays about people warped by technology. What are you watching happen right now in the tech world?
MILA G. I think technology fundamentally changes the way we interact with others, often for the worse. For example, in a given day you’ll tweet your lunch to thousands of followers, ‘like’ the status of a near stranger, snapchat with god knows who while googling an ex, check into somewhere you think is cool, and then Instagram the one moment in the night that makes you look care-free or physically appealing, all be it with the aid of a flattering filter. It’s an extremely self-conscious way to live. So much so, that when having one-on-one human interactions in real life you’re still eye-balling your iPhone. And that’s just the regular every day tech, not getting into drones, cyberattacks, supercomputers, genetically engineered robobabies and those highly disturbing Google glasses enthusiasts.
JEREMY W. Whatever the opposite of pretentious is, I think you and your work are it. Where do you get that sensibility?
MILA G. As someone with no formal theater education, other then the catch up reading I do on my own time, I often don’t know enough to say pretentious things. I could say my plays are Chekhovian, Brechtian commentaries on the state of modern society with a hint of Pinteresque dialogue, blah blah blah early Shakespeare, but I wouldn’t even know what any of that means.
JEREMY W. What makes a hero heroic?
MILA G. I’ve always been a bit of an antihero girl myself. Since I was a child, the bad guys always intrigued me more than the good guys. I found their backstories murkier, their ticks fascinating. As a generally anxious, occasionally self-loathing individual, I find people who are unabashedly selfish with no care for public scrutiny or outward approval oddly sexy. Lex Luther is my superman.
JEREMY W. To the untrained eye, you don’t seem like the scented candle type. Explain.
MILA G. Not big on scented candles and Barry White during sexy time, but I must admit candlelight is universally flattering. Also, scented candle makes me feel psuedo French. As does eating large loafs of breads daintily, buying fresh flowers from farmer markets and wearing twirly patterned skirts.
JEREMY W. Do you depend upon a writing routine to work creatively?
MILA W. Last night, my fiancé told me that he imagines my mind as a cavernous netherworld filled with endless staircases that just turn into other staircases, keeping me from sticking to any one direction or thought for more then two minutes.
Hence, the idea of a daily routine with allotted schedules and goals is pretty impossible. I do try to write in the mornings rather then night, which is a time I reserve for gorging myself on bad reality tv and complex carbohydrates.
JEREMY W. Is there one dream opportunity in the theatre you have in mind? A certain theatre produces your work, residency, fellowship, or award?
MILA G. I think I’m still discovering my aesthetic and where I belong in this crazy industry, so it’s hard to pinpoint a theater or award. In a dream scenario, I’d be a resident playwright within a like-minded collective of talented actors and directors, all available on a whim to play around with a new work. A producer with deep pockets to fund all this rampant experimentation would be nice too.