Our next interview is with playwright Sarah Sander. We caught up with her to ask some questions about her poignant, sexy, and darkly funny play Sycamore:
BAPF: Why did the title "Sycamore" resonate with you?
SS: For a handful of reasons. Sycamores are commonly found in the Midwest and the word, sycamore, is often employed in naming suburban streets or parks. For me, the title evokes tree-lined cul-de-sacs.
There’s also this: the branches of sycamores are particularly twisted, as the trees age, the trunks hollow out to provide homes for various animals and the sycamore has bark that peels off and sheds (for a play dealing with a lot of physical transformation, it’s an easy metaphor).
There’s this too: I like how the word sounds.
BAPF: The play includes a lot of "..." dialogue. How do you imagine the center action of the play with the silences?
SS: The silences are integral. A lot of these characters have been brought up in a community that’s caring, but repressive. They don’t have the words to express all that they’re feeling. So, hopefully, when it comes to the play’s central action, a great deal of tension will be wrought from watching these individuals struggle to articulate all that they’ve been unwilling or unable to acknowledge.
BAPF: What drew you to the theme of people taking things? (i.e.: Celia taking boys, John taking pictures, Henry taking clothes?)
SS: The motivation behind taking things is so layered. It can be an attempt to combat sadness (hoping that the prize will bring happiness), a means of releasing pent up anger and aggression, a cry for attention, etc. With Henry and Celia, it’s also a sly and subtle way to “wage war.”
As for John, his “taking” pictures functions differently. It’s his means of disappearing. It’s a defensive technique.
BAPF: Thank you, Sarah! We look forward to seeing Sycamore on Sunday, July 17 at 6PM and Saturday, July 23 at 12PM.