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Montaigne's Tower

"Queen Victoria's Secret": publicity interview from 2011

My play “Queen Victoria’s Secret” was presented by Nameless Playwrights as part of Portland’s Fertile Ground New Play Festival on Monday, January 24, 2011, at the Someday Lounge, 125 NW Fifth Avenue, Portland. Publicity for the production included responses to the following prompts:
Short prompts:
1. A Writer I Admire Is . . . Cormac McCarthy.
2. My Writing Style Can Be Described As . . .J.M. Synge Meets Emily Dickinson.
3. The Celebrity I Would Most Like To See Star In This Play On Broadway Is . . . Helen Mirren as Queen Victoria and Paul Lynde as Dr. Lavalle.
4. I Am Terrified Of . . . injustice.
5. I Am Obsessed With . . . justice.
6. The Book Currently On My Nightstand Is . . . the Oxford English Dictionary (see next question).
7. Three Adjectives That Describe This Play Are . . . autochthonous, risible, bootylicious.
8 In the Indie Art-House Biographical Film Of My Life, I Should Be Played By . . . Julie Harris playing Emily Dickinson.
Longer prompts:
1. Tell us about your Fertile Ground Festival play…. Queen Victoria has spent ten years in deep mourning for her beloved Albert. Can technological innovation, brought to her by an obnoxious Frenchman, enable her to return to public life? How does a queen reconcile personal needs with public duty?
2. How did this story come about? What inspired it?.... I wanted to write about sex and the Victorian era (what better combination?—except, perhaps, Freud interviewing Hugh Hefner). While teaching in London, I heard a Blue Badge Guide crack a joke about what Queen Victoria did with the marble hand of Albert that she kept by her bedside. My realization that the electric vibrator was invented about the time that Queen Victoria returned to public life sparked the story.
3. Talk about your writing process. (How do you write? When do you write? What gets you writing?)…. I get up early and work on something, anything. Deadlines help (e.g., “answer the questions in the Fertile Ground Playwright Interview by midnight”), but I also like to try out new kinds of writing (“Hmm…today I’ll try a pantoom”). I have a stack of articles, cartoons, and pictures that may or may not gel into a new idea (for example, I’ve been fascinated by the kinds of things that members of the PDX Backstage listserv ask of each other—e.g., a set of human-sized wings). I wrote a play about a gorilla who loved Beowulf because I read a bad translation of Beowulf in which the translator compared Grendel to a gorilla. Ideas come at the oddest times; I always carry a notebook and a pencil and wait for the bzzt along my spine.
4. What are you up to these days when you’re not writing?.... When I’m not what?
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