Meet the Playwright: Heloise Wilson
Tonight at 7pm, Moxie is thrilled to present a developmental reading of American Standard! We are so thrilled to play a part in the life of this piece, which stunned us with its empathy and insight into the minds of teenage girls, all within a kind of story we had never seen onstage before. Before tonight's free presentation, we sat down with playwright Heloise Wilson to talk writing process, NYC life, and French concept art (!).
The essentials: Heloise Wilson is a European performer and playwright. She is a graduate of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and holds an MFA in playwright from Brooklyn College where she studied under the supervision of Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. She is also the associate artistic director at Little y. Her work has been produced and she has appeared at the Flea, JACK, Dixon Place, The Plaxall Gallery, The Black Lady Theatre, Brooklyn College as well as overseas in the UK and France. She is currently developing the TV show Weezy Goes Outside and is working on a new adaptation of Rhinoceros for Brooklyn College.
Keep reading for our Q&A with Heloise!
Q: Tell us about the writing process of American Standard.
I wrote the first draft of the play very quickly - in a few days, with the stamina of adolescence I guess! The second draft was also written very quickly. My initial attention was to engage in my questioning of certain issues present in the United States that I still struggle to grapple with, even after living here for nine years: reproductive rights and gun control for instance. I knew I wanted to write a play that would be partly told through the bias of an international young person coming to America for a short time. I also wanted to write about teenage girls, sports and hockey. I played hockey for years in an all boys team - with this piece I am imagining the team I never had. A lot of hockey plays going around at the moment are still very male driven and I wanted to show the other side of the coin. Hockey is a very powerful sport, that teaches resilience and power, and teenage girls are one of the greatest power sources we have on the planet as well.
2. What excites you as an artist?
Transmission and community. Ultimately a lot of the artist life is constantly seeking validation from various key institutions - companies / residencies / festivals etc. Of course, this is necessary, but the actual community building, knowledge and awareness transmission is what excites me. Our audience relating to our work, asking questions, thinking about the show the next day, this is what makes me the most happy.
3. Who is a woman+ artist you admire and why?
Sophie Calle who is a French conceptual visual artist. Her work is primarily composed of highly emotional simple installation pieces based on private vulnerable experiences. After a break up letter that ended with the sentence “take care of yourself “ she asked 107 women to analyze the letter according to her profession- lawyers, poets, painters, therapists etc, before turning it into a visual book. Her work sheds the light on primal human emotions and connects us to her intimately right away. Her work and process is a huge influence on me, something that I always keep in mind- I aspire to recreate that intimacy.
4. What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?
The constant source of opportunities is the reason why I moved here and why I keep living here. There is a lot of grind and sometimes rejection, but always more interesting passionate people to meet, to learn from and to look up to.
5. Why is American Standard an important play for right now?
The play takes place in 2005 - remember George Bush? I hope this play lets us look at what is happening in the states now and what was happening then. I hope it gives a voice to adolescence and those feelings of wanted to make the world a better place and do what is right no matter what. I also hope it continues and helps grow the trend of “ girls and women in sports “ plays. I think we all need to be reminded sometimes of the big feelings we had as teenagers, our ambition and dreams and how we are a result of this as adults- there is always the possibility of defying the odds.
Join Moxie Arts NY for our free reading of Heloise's play American Standard tomorrow at 7pm at IRT Theater!