Artsweek’s Audrey Bachelder recently sat down with playwright-in-residence Lila Rose Kaplan to talk about her new play Entangled, which premeires at UCSB this week.
Check back for complete coverage of Entangled next Thursday, or go to www.dailynexus.com to listen to and read the rest of Kaplan’s interview.
Describe Entangled in three words.
Quirky, Heartfelt, Unexpected.
Who are the main characters?
August and Leigh are the central characters of the story; they are a set of identical twins. They are actually played by the same actress in this production, which is very cool. I know Annie [Torsiglieri] pretty well and I wrote it for her because I thought it would be a great acting and writing challenge for the two of us. August is a physicist and Leigh is a dance teacher who is also headmaster for the school Twins Academy, which is a boarding school for exceptional twins. The other characters are two sets of twins who attend the school. There’s Bunhead and Fame, and Cold War and MIT and then there’s Max who is Leigh’s son; he’s a history teacher. And there’s Barista, who is a barista in a coffee shop and he was an important character for me to add because he’s not part of the school. The play for me is all about identity and family and figuring yourself out within the family and also separate from the family so I think all the characters explore that journey. You know, the play is about twins but it could also talk of siblings and any kind of relationship where you’re really close to someone and end up really enmeshed with them.
How does it feel to have your own Wikipedia page?
It’s interesting; actually it’s on my list of things to update it. It feels good, it’s exciting to be part of a larger group of playwrights represented somewhere. Like a contemporary artist!
Speaking of your Wikipedia page, it states that your plays “explore the mysteries of human relationships, often with elements of magical realism and dark humor.” Does Entangled fit that description?
Oh, absolutely. I think that sibling relationships are so complex and mysterious and with twins it starts before you’re even out of the womb. So you’re relating to this creature even before you know who you are. And I think that is true of a lot of sibling relationships, too … I think you really become who you are either with or in the face of your family.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes, a little sister.
Does she inspire you?
Yes, we have a wonderfully rich and complex relationship and I often find myself writing about things I’ve noticed with her and other sets of siblings we know. About how connected we feel and different we can be and how even when you’re fighting with someone you still want to be connected with them.
What would you like the audience to feel after exiting your play?
I’m always interested in leaving the audience with questions. Like some questions out of this play can be “How do I find balance?” “Is it possible to find balance?” “Can I be connected with someone and still be myself?” It’s always great to hear what resonates with people in your work.
What would you like the actors to feel while performing?
I hope to create deep and challenging characters for them. It’d be great if they could get it so into their bodies and their souls that it’s a good ride for them.