Playwright Profile: Anna Fox


Playwright- Ginny (Quickies 17, June/July 2015)

Where did the idea for your play come from?

I had a very specific idea in my head of a mother who committed suicide who left a cryptic poetic note, a distant father, and a girl who is too young to make sense of what is going on, but is trying to grow up on the spot. I had also been doing a lot of research about Virginia Woolf and how she committed suicide, and almost included her as a character, but then decided I could tie those aspects together by having the main character be named Ginny, who her suicidal mother named her after Virginia Woolf. The rest came from there.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?

The ending. That was a fairly late addition to the piece, so I liked the surreal ambiguity it added to this already mysterious story. The Cooking Show Host is supposed to represent a sort of substitute mom figure for Ginny, but she’s an image on the television, so it’s already pretty apparent that she’s not entirely real and that Ginny is imagining a lot of what is happening; the final moment is the culmination of that. I won’t give anything else away!

What’s the most interesting thing you have found on the street?

I didn’t find this, but my grandparents are notorious dumpster divers (I probably should write my next play about them) and once my grandma brought me home this very creepy porcelain clown doll she found on the street as a birthday present. I was horrified and immediately threw it out. Hopefully the next dumpster diver found it and gave it to their frightened grandchild.

If you could instantly find something today that you have lost in the past, what would it be?

I have a weird trauma surrounding this red and white polka dotted ball I lost in the ocean when I was five. I don’t know why, but it’s a vivid memory that has stuck with me for years. There was something very tragic about watching it get washed out to sea not being able to do anything about it. I often wonder if that was the exact moment I learned about the impermanence of things.

What projects are you currently working on?

My play “Clarabelle, 86” about two Queens county administrators going through a dead hoarder’s apartment is currently being produced at Cloud City in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Performances through June 18th! I am also working on my thesis play for my MFA program at UCLA that will go up in November called “Georgia is Waiting” about a girl whose father leaves her when she is seven, but she lies and says he was trampled by a bison, and I am just starting to work on a play called “Moms get fit!” about a high strung mom exercise class in Los Angeles.

Finish this sentence- “I love theater that…”

Asks more questions than it provides answers.

What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist?

That theater is like dating. In the sense that it’s about cultivating relationships, and finding those places and people who are passionate about your work, and you in turn are excited by what they are doing too. And if you’re going through a period of theater singleness, produce your own work!

What is your favorite and least favorite word?

My favorite word is mawkish, my least favorite is pregnant.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?

Recently I’ve been relearning how to speak both Spanish and Russian, and learning about epigenetics. I am also always into dancing and traveling.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)

Thanks Live Girls! For choosing my play for Quickies 17. I love your mission of producing work by women, and it’s great that you put this festival on every summer.