Did you hear? Jojo has a new job! She’s been walking around her neighborhood, memorizing messages and delivering them all around Brooklyn. This adventurous new endeavor eventually leads her to Thad, a kindred spirit at the laundromat. Their meeting beautifully unfolds into a conversation which ranges from love, to sex, to chemicals, in this short meditation on the chemistries that bring us together.
Ben Holbrook is a Brooklyn-based (originally from NC) playwright and filmmaker whose works have been produced, developed, or commissioned by: Fundamental Theater Project, Ruddy Productions, The New York International Fringe Festival, The Memphis Fringe Festival, The Motor Company, Voices of the South (TN), Ugly Rhino (LA), Seoul Players (SK), Holiday House, Find the Light (LA), The Irish Arts Council, 45th Street Block Association, and Paper Lantern Theatre Company (NC). He’s been awarded the Edward Albee Foundation fellowship, the Drama League Rough Draft Residency (partnering with Sam Underwood), The Williamstown Theatre Festival residency, Fresh Ground Pepper’s Playground Playgroup Residency, the Wildwind Performance Lab residency, The New Concepts Theatre Lab at UNC-Greensboro, Magic Time at Judson Church, and is the inaugural recipient of the Peter Shaffer Award for Excellence in Playwriting. More info at baholbrook.com
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?
I moved to New York City after graduating with my BFA in acting. As is often the case, my transition to NYC living and working was really rough emotionally. My Mom kept sending me notebooks so that I could journal about my depression. I never journaled, but I started writing haikus, and haikus turned to poetry, which turned to short stories. Eventually I decided to try my hand at theatre so that I could create work for my friends and I, which reflected our values and aesthetic. I didn’t realize how quickly I’d fall in love with the process.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I was challenged to write a play that could take place in a laundromat. I have no idea if I’d ever think to write a play that takes place in that setting otherwise. At that point in my career, I’d written a few pieces that were all high stakes, high stress, epic pieces and I’d decided that maybe I wanted to write a more quiet, sensitive play that reflected where I was emotionally. So I crafted two characters that reminded me of people I’d love to hang out with, people like my friends, and I let them be themselves. It felt good to write with love, instead of trying to muscle my audience into emotional places. It changed the way I wrote everything that came after.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Decadent, curious, humorous, magical, affectionate.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
In no particular order: Madeline Miller, Anne Carson, John Steinbeck, Michaela Coel, Noah Hawley, Donald Glover, Rebecca Sugar, Shinichirō Watanabe, Neil Gaiman, Zora Neale Hurston, Alan Moore, Guy Debord, Sjón, Haruki Murakami, and Arthur Rimbaud are the creators that immediately come to mind, but there are so many others.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I’m the youngest of 6.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Eurydice (Ruhl), The Pride, A Strange Loop, Uncle Vanya, Our Lady of 121st street, Death and the King’s Horseman, Mother Courage and Her Children.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m developing a western musical with Nate Weida at the Wildwind Performance Lab at Texas Tech this summer, so check out my social media to see the progress on that. I also have a play in the Communal Spaces Festival in September, and a short science fiction film called “BenjaminBot” that my company, Full Metal Workshop, is producing in partnership with Swedish film company Strange Orbit Production, and Break + Enter, a special effects studio.