HANOI JANE PISS TARGET
A generational conflict arises in a Rust-Belt VFW bar when Bill, a quiet veteran who served in Afghanistan, meets longtime friend and military spouse Margaux. At the same time, ornery Vietnam vet Hank threatens to tear the bar apart looking for his beloved Hanoi Jane urinal stickers which have recently disappeared from the bar’s bathroom. What follows is an exploration of violence, grief, and masculinity in the wake of American conflict overseas.
Alex Moon (Pronouns: he/they) is a genderqueer artist living and working in New York City. A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, he has worked with numerous organizations, such as The American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA; Nylon Fusion Theatre Company in New York, NY; KMC-Onstage in Kaiserslautern, Germany; The Company Theatre in Norwell, MA; Theatre Collaborative in Brockton, MA; and many more. His plays have also been presented through New York University, Boston University, Emerson College, CSU Long Beach, Massasoit College, and have received awards from the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and others. He’s studied devised theatre making with Frantic Assembly and acting with the NSLC-Yale School of Drama joint program. He is also a member of the New York University Class of 2022 majoring in Dramatic Writing and Classics.
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 started writing plays as a freshman in high school. I’d always known I wanted to be a writer or creator, but it wasn’t until I started doing theatre in my mid-teens that I realized first and foremost my love for playwriting. I had some exceptional mentors growing up who really influenced my craft as an artist, and in summer 2015 when I had a completed draft of my first full-length play, “Eris’ Chain,” they were excited enough by the script to do a workshop. That workshop, and the play’s subsequent workshops really solidified my need to be a theatre artist. I’d enjoyed the drafting process, but it was when the cast and crew convened and we further developed the piece as a collective that I discovered the power of community, creation, and togetherness that writing for theatre can create. Playwriting is in no way a solitary craft, I’m always seeking out more artists and collaborators to bring into my process and make it a more communal experience for audience and artist alike.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
The inspiration for HANOI JANE PISS TARGET came from a real sticker in a real American Legion post. In the summer of 2019, My family and I traveled up to Niagara Falls to celebrate my Great-Grandfather’s 100th Birthday. My Great-Grandfather, Bill Kresman, was a WWII vet and a Purple Heart recipient who spent many years as the Sergeant-at-Arms for the LaSalle Legion Post in Niagara. Having never spent much time at the American Legion in Niagara Falls or elsewhere, I was immediately fascinated by the culture and hierarchies of the regulars there. I was also shocked to find every urinal in the bathroom proudly sporting the Hanoi Jane urinal target (In the men’s bathroom at least– I assume the women’s bathroom lacked the urinals and the stickers). The idea that resentment toward Jane Fonda and her anti-war protests in the 60s continues among this group of veterans 50 years later astounded me, and also raised questions about the culture that such a place was curating. I grew up with multiple armed service members in my family from multiple generations, active and retired. Their diversity of character and experience showed me that they are in no way a homogenous group. As our country’s culture, biases, and conflicts have morphed over the past century, the reasons Americans serve in the military, and the ways in which they go supported or unsupported by American policy after their service are equally as changing. This play seeks to untangle some of the mythmaking around that military culture while examining the community impact of these conflicts and the people who serve in them.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Truth through myth and archetype
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I’m influenced by epic storytelling and world mythology, as well as comparative literature, sociology, psychology, and environmentalism. I love punk music, glam, hardcore, psychedelic, funk, anything engaging and energizing. History, art, the occult, forests, nature, sci-fi and fantasy novels, people watching in Thompkins Square Park. I’m obsessed with intertextuality as a writer. The more disparate influences and motifs I can weave together into one piece of art, the more its meaning radiates outward to an audience. I love my friends, my family, my incredible partner Amelia– They’ve all heard me pick their brains for hours. I’ve also been lucky enough to have had some incredible guidance as a writer and theatre artist, from directors and professors to music teachers and my endlessly supportive parents.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I cemented a live bird to my hand while trying to rescue it from a glue trap in a barn. We were eventually detached and amicably went our separate ways.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
I’m a huge fan of Jen Silverman, Sarah Ruhl, Suzan-Lori Parks, Gracie Gardener, Aleshea Harris, Tony Kushner– I could go on forever. Picking a favorite is super difficult, although recently I’ve rediscovered my love for one of my favs, “Do You Feel Anger” by Mara Nelson-Greenberg.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Yes! I’m in the middle drafting a new epic theatre piece called ΑΠΑΘΕΙΑ (“a-pa-thee-ya”) that I’m very excited about, exploring myth and coming of age in the 21st century, as well as some other projects coming down the pipeline. My full-length play G-Town is also a current finalist in this year’s National Playwrights Conference through the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.