In a Massachusetts morgue, presided over by a lone coroner, Marco Deforge lies cold. He might be dead of jellyfish stings, but he still has secrets to tell. Together, Marco and his post-mortem examiner explore his life and death, the bizarre circumstances surrounding them, and the all-consuming spectre lurking beneath it all.
Andrew Piechota is a playwright, actor, freelance writer, and audio narrator. He is a graduate of Illinois State University; The Remains was his first play. He is currently based in Chicago.
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 was an acting major in undergrad, so back then, I was always writing with the intent to perform, which I imagine is pretty common. There were always student productions and writing festivals and midnight open-mic free-for-alls- sometimes I was finishing or modifying the piece moments before I had to perform it. Urgency begat productivity. I was surrounded by so many unique performers and artistic voices that fed my desire to produce work worthy of them, and that continues driving me today.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
The original idea came from reading about the whole science and industry surrounding human cadavers, and thinking about where the soul’s purpose might fit in, anatomically speaking- whether that spark can decay with the body, or become trapped. So, naturally, the fusion of these scientific and mystical ideas became something very much like a ghost story, like those 19th-century “experiments” with ectoplasm or the “weight” of the soul. Then came the idea of a cadaver and coroner in conversation, and a dynamic of trying to help someone who is beyond beyond help, of trying to understand the ineffable, of giving comfort to the traumatised. The thesis statement for the whole play could be summed up in that line from A Softer World: “Death is not the end. Death is an ocean on all sides of our lives. Dark, and cold, and anything but empty.”
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Juxtaposition, annihilation, dissolution, haunted, android
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Ursula Le Guin, Annie Baker, Anton Chekov, Jorge Luis Borges, Shirley Jackson, Hanif Abdurraqib, Tom Stoppard, Daniel Lavery
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I can, in fact, juggle.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Annie Baker’s John, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya, Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, Jean Anouilh’s Antigone
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m writing a new play, tentatively called The Hierophant, and am co-creator of an upcoming audio drama series. By the time this goes to print, you’ll surely find the link on my website- see you in the future!