In this weekly feature, WCBS culture critic Jim Taylor shares 30 seconds with the theatre stars and upstarts of NYC. From Broadway to Off-off, Jim tracks down the talent and gets them to spill just enough for our collectively shortened attention spans.
Amy Herzog is one of the hottest new playwrights of our time, but her latest is a real departure. Hitchcock-inspired Belleville is a thriller set in the eponymous Paris neighborhood. Truths and lies and sexual desire share the air with pot smoke and suspense.
Amy Herzog: It is a real noir kind of drama. Lots of suspense.
Jim Taylor: Not to mention a really big butcher knife. What I like about Amy Herzog characters: there’s a kind of consistency there. I’m always wondering who’s speaking the truth.
AH: I guess I’m trying to look at the same memories and events from a lot of different perspectives. Sort of like refracting through different lenses.
JT: You’ve written a couple of notable plays that touch on those subjects, 4,000 Miles and The Great God Pan. Where do you get your inspiration?
AH: I guess everywhere. I wrote those two plays based on my extended family. I think the starting point can be anything from a family event to just an idea I’m fixated on.
JT: And how does your family feel about that?
AH: They’ve been really great and supportive. To my face… Hahaha.
Belleville: re-written several times until it was as good as she could get it, at the New York Theatre Workshop through April 14.