So, the title.
You may be wondering if I am applying an admittedly in-your-face label to someone in particular? To a certain character in the play maybe, or to someone from my own life? It could simply refer to a sculpture emerging in stone.
But as I myself do come from a complicated family, let’s start there.
Our communication was admittedly patchy at times, even though we are mostly all writers, and usually pretty good at expressing ourselves. Is there a play somewhere in there, I thought? Maybe they aren’t writers. That seemed too close for comfort and probably annoying to watch. Like paint drying. Paint? Maybe one’s an artist? A great artist who sculpts body parts? Which body part? Oh. That could work, if I dare.
I began writing this play around fifteen years ago, wanting to move away from romantic comedies, to try something intimate, theatrical, and thematically deeper. I thought of my own playwright-father’s advice to 1) write what you know, and 2) make sure there is conflict. I also thought about my favorite plays, all family-based stories, and so fashioned a family completely different than my own, while also being quite similar in how they behave badly. We at my house could be articulate grumblers and finger-pointers amid all the love. I wanted to try and walk the line between comedy and drama, to see how broadly I could amplify the funny while still being real. And I wanted to create a familiar dynamic similar to what I had experienced growing up, but to also find a story that took on a life of its own, grounded in outrage and truth, that also had to earn the cheeky title that I can’t even share with my own grandson!
My wish for you: hold on to your hats, and please enjoy…
Ellen Simon, playwright of Ass which premieres at PTC on October 22, 2021. Visit here for more information on Ass, or for tickets, go here.
Ellen spent her youth watching her father, playwright Neil Simon, work on Broadway before launching her own successful career as a screenwriter and playwright.