Big Red Button
On a livestream from JJ’s kitchen, what begins as an unboxing video becomes something stranger: a personal exploration of sexual attraction and gender, of formative childhood memories and adult acts of remembering, of Barbie Dolls and Disney Villains, of plastic and flesh. JJ navigates the shifting landscapes of desire between “Do I want to be you?” and “Do I want to be with you?” and maybe, finally, to “Do I want to EAT you?”
Jay Eddy is a writer, composer, and performer. In 2022, their solo show Driving in Circles won the Richard Rodgers Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award and Musical Theatre Award, both from the Kennedy Center. They are a recent Yaddo fellow, Jonathan Larson Grant finalist, New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, and Connecticut Office of the Arts fellow, and their writing has been published with North American Review, Tikkun, Pidgeonholes, Poets Reading the News, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, and TulipTree. Their work for the stage has been called, “Bracingly original, astonishingly resourceful, and daringly theatrical,” and, “a joy to listen to…a beautiful tapestry of sound.” As a performer, they’ve been called, “Kate McKinnon on a cocaine bender.” MFA in Playwriting at Boston University, MA in Music Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
In my fifth grade yearbook, I said I wanted to be “a poet.” I wrote my first play in high school, a monologue-driven one-act following the girls of one family across three generations. I think one of the monologues was interrupted by the mournful lament of a sandwich one of the girls had lost under her bed.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
“Big Red Button” was inspired by my first love: a Princess Jasmine Barbie doll. It’s part of a collection of ten-minute plays and monologues I’m working on, working title: “All the Movies That Made Me Gay.”
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Lyrical, wacky, visceral, absurd, naked
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Maria Bamford, Joni Mitchell, Pauline Oliveros, Stephin Merritt, Kurt Weill, Spalding Grey, John Leguizamo, Shirley Jackson, Sandra Cisneros, Caroline Bergvall
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
My first CD was “Abba Gold”—but maybe everyone would guess that about me, I don’t know. I also really let loose to Donna Summer.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Right now: “Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story” (Hannah Moskovitch, Ben Caplan, Christian Barry), “Indecent” (Paula Vogel), “Rhinoceros” (Eugene Ionesco), “Ann, Fran, and Mary Ann” (Erin Courtney), “The Hunchback of Seville” (Chairs Castro Smith), “We’re Gonna Die” (Young Jean Lee)
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
My solo show “Driving in Circles” won the 2022 Richard Rodgers Award, so I’m in the process of finding the right production opportunity for that piece. And I have a workshop coming up at Boston Playwrights Theatre in spring 2023 of my play “Alligator-a-Phobia in 3D!”: one part door farce, one part monster movie, an absurd horror-comedy about alligators, swamps, isolation, and the fear of stepping outside your home.