Name: Nikole Beckwith
Hometown: (raised) Newburyport, Massachusetts (currently) Brooklyn, New York
Which play do you wish you’d written? Pterodactyls by Nicky Silver
6 words to describe your play? Coherent words: It is a play about women. Other words: Funny, fast, weighted, absurd, sincere, ours.
Favourite character in your play and why? I have a few. The character of Claire I love a lot. She is so vulnerable but also tied so tightly. In writing her, she gave me a greater understanding of my own experiences, despite the fact hat we are nothing a like. Grandma Sylvie is also a favorite, I think that characters for “old women” are often and easily caricatures of old women, they are seen as “cute” like “Hilarious! That old woman said something!” when in reality, those who are older than us are really the only folks with answers. If answers exist. So The Grandma Sylvie character skewers that a bit. Also Lorraine, deep affection for Lorraine – I both agree and disagree with everything she says. That’s more than one. Sorry.
What does the title mean? What title? I am still working on that. I only wrote the play 4 months ago!
Where do you write? In my apartment at an old desk by the window, but I wrote this particular play in a little office over at The National Theatre Studio.
What do you like to do (not including theatre)? I hang out with my dog a lot. I love walking and being alone outside. And I draw comics, but that is kind of like writing. I like to laugh and cry at the same time. I’ve actually been looking high and low for an activity to take me out of my head, though. Everything I like to do involves getting lost in my own thoughts. I think it’s important to get out of those a bit here and there.
Favourite thing about London: The history and my friends there. And how integral theater is to the culture, and even the pop culture. It’s amazing.
What makes you happy? Feelings. Even the sad ones.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought (excluding a house)? I just bought a couch. Highway robbery. You’d think it was dipped in gold.
Which words or phases do you overuse? In life or in my work? In life I say the word “intense” too much. I also start a lot of jokes with “Dear Diary” or “Dear Everyone”. In my work…I don’t employ any of those three things.
What is your greatest fear? I think all of our fears come from loss. The fear of loss in one way or another. I used to fear losing a tooth. Then I lost one. I lived.
What would be your last meal? These questions are getting so heavy. Ice cream.
Where would you like to be right now? By the water.
What would you be if you weren’t a playwright? Well I am becoming something of a filmmaker these days, but that’s cheating, you mean not writing related. I would teach kids, or dolphins. Or run for mayor of my home town.
What time do you go to bed? Lately between midnight and 2.
Did you do any research for your play? If being a woman counts, tons.
What would you say influences you? Every. Little. Thing.
What’s your favourite line in your play? I don’t know yet. Right now it’s “People used to think of children as the beginning of everything, now they think of them as the end”
If you could have any super power what would it be? I’d like to telepathically communicate with some animals. Not all, that’s too many. But definitely my dog Norman, and a few others along the way.
Do you like surprises? Yes. God, yes. What are we doing here without them.
Untitled Matriarch Play by Nikole Beckwith will be performed in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs 9-13th July 2013 as part of our Open Court Weekly Rep season. Click here to buy tickets.*