Hi Cristina! Thanks for taking the time to chat. Can you tell us why you decided to write DISTRICTLAND?
CB: I wrote this play in direct response to the bizarre experiences and intense expectations I experienced as a 20-something trying to make it in the District. I come from a culture that celebrates absurdity (e.g. Eugene Ionesco) and I realized that everything around me was just too ridiculous. So when two friends asked me to write a satire of DC, I jumped on it. The writing was cathartic - everything in the play had either happened to me, or to a close friend of mine. It felt good to put those absurd expectations in the heads of the characters and to realize that I was actually doing just fine - writing my plays, doing my research and just enjoying life.
So, this is a play directly borne out of your experiences in DC -- can you share why this story, or collection of stories, are particularly important to you?
CB: "Districtland" captures the myopic privileged rat-race that so many young people in DC feel compelled to engage in. What I know for sure, now that I'm safely in my 30s, is that I am not a rat nor my LinkedIn profile.
I think it's too simple to say that Americans work too hard. I like to work hard. It's more this expectation that we should all conform to pursue the perfect DC-CV, whatever that is, that bothers me. Washington DC attracts some the most ambitious and idealistic people in the world, yet these transplants are totally out of touch with the local politics and people. We are so ready to pour our noble ideals into internships, law school, fellowships and activism but when was the last time you broke out a bottle of wine and just talked to the people you live with? "Districtland" is a loving portrait of trying to make it in the center of the universe and a cry for everyone here to relax, breathe and listen.
That's an interesting insight -- that people in DC are proudly politically active, yet completely disengaged from local politics. Can you tell us why you think this is a play suited for this moment? Why it's important to start this conversation now?
CB: We are doing the play right now because it is about right now. It positively drives me crazy when plays become dated in a way that they are inaccessible to future audiences. Districtland is current, it's real, but in five years from now people won't be using their iphones in the way they do in the play. If there will be iphones .... by then we'll just have chips in our brains, like our passports.
I think that's a great place to end, thanks Cristina!