The Very Furious Kugel
Clare Fuyuko Bierman
Your Grandpa Izzy met a demon yesterday, but she’s not actually that bad. An ode to Yiddish folktales, my dad’s stories, and really good leftovers.
Clare Fuyuko Bierman is a playwright and lyricist raised in a Japanese-Jewish home with some rabbits, a snake, and a bunch of finches. Current commissions include Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria (Book by Brandy Hoang Collier, Music by Erika Ji, Winner of 5th Avenue Theater’s First Draft Commission), and Theseus and the Minotaur and the Other Six (Music by Joshua Vranas, Youth Theater Northwest). Her past work has been seen at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Spooky Action Theater, Open Door Playhouse, Broadway’s Future Songbook Series, and as a winner of the New Musicals Inc. New Voices Project. Originally from Los Angeles, she received her MFA from New York University.
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?
The first time I remember understanding the power of stories was in 7th grade. We were supposed to write about the worst thing we had ever done, and then our teacher would pick some to read out loud (anonymously, sure, but you can’t convince me she wouldn’t recognize our handwriting by that point). I absolutely lied in my story to make it sadder and more interesting. When our teacher read it aloud I heard my classmates make a sad sound like “ohhhh 🙁 .” And then eleven years later I wrote this play.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I hate waking up in the morning. When I was a kid, my dad would sit in my bedroom and tell me stories to wake me up before school. My dad was a great storyteller, but a famously bad actor. Apparently, he took one community acting class and had to write all his lines on props. After he passed away, I was going to create a really edgy collection called like “Monologues for my Dead Dad to Perform” or something similarly tasteful. This piece started as a monologue in that collection because the storyteller’s voice was modeled after my Dad’s. Ultimately, the collection never came together (I couldn’t think of any more monologues my Dad would be able to perform) and it became this two person play.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Singing, Lying, Crawling, Kissing, Arson
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
My parents, my sister, my friends, shared meals, ecological absurdism, corn mazes, and every single person I’ve ever met.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I’m standing behind you right now.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
The Danube by Maria Irene Fornes, Suicide Forest by Haruna Lee, White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour, and Dave Malloy’s entire cannon.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m writing lyrics for the show Yoko’s Husband’s Killer’s Japanese Wife, Gloria (book by Brandy Hoang Collier, music by Erika Ji) for 5th Avenue Theater’s First Draft Commission. Stay tuned for updates! I also wrote the book and lyrics for the children’s show Theseus and the Minotaur and the Other Six (music by Joshua Vranas), premiering at Youth Theater Northwest in the fall.