other elegant people of the theatre: boudreaux edition (artlog #10)

mes amis—

What is there to say about playwright and person-of-the-theatre Frank Boudreaux? Too much I’ll have you know! Tales of his talents preceded my meeting of him back in ’10. His great warmth of spirit and hearty pats on the back were naturally met with a good measure of North Eastern suspicion on my part. (“Is this guy for real?” I wondered. I shuddered to think of his plays.)

But it seems Boudreaux and I have not only some shared heritage—his is of the Cajun variety mine is of a more French Canadian persuasion—but also a shared fervor for the theatrical arts, philosophizing, and cold beverages. Those back slaps are for real and most genuine…! Frank-o’s passion and zest for all things theatrical (I recall popping into some Brooklyn College workshops and seeing him ardently argue on behalf of a play’s merits while other classmates may have rolled an eyeball or two) are indeed something to behold. Never a cheerleader, always a thoughtful considerer of work: “We’ll talk about it more at the bar,” Frank-o would say with a casual wave of his hand. It was with great plaisir that I discovered Boudreaux’s own playwriting as an amalgamation of his as a person: joyous, rigorous and provoking in the deepest of contemplations. I’d expect nothing less from a fellow philosophe!

I warned you: there is simply much too much to say! Frank-o was kind enough to take some time out of his busy pre-production work cycle for Everything that Is the Case for Two Young Women on the Eve of the Great War Among Other Elegant Lies, which premiers at the very fine Incubator Arts Project Sept. 6-16, to have a quick chat with old Kippy. Here’s what we discussed over the Internet transom.

gaffney and corbett in “other elegant lies…” photo by: Zack Rubenstein

Allora, Frank. Let us commencer.
Warning: Something about you brings out the twee in me, I do say, Kippy.

Very well. What sparked the idea for this play?
What better way to write about two dead philosophers than through two historical teenage girls?

Touché. The title is extremely long: Did someone put you up to this? Have you been using a nick name or acronym?
Alas, I need no provocation to be loquacious.

I have observed this in classrooms and in bars!
The title is mine. But my producers call it …Other Elegant Lies, for short (ellipses included).

How does this play fall into your other work? Same? Different? Contextualize us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I feel my style always suits the form. And I’ll admit to a bit of fretting that this play is SO technically complex, and SO heady, audience members may think it’s all I can do… or what I want to do. But I have other plays that are either simpler or slower or more gut than head.

Aye, your play, Lowen and Joe, which had a reading at the Bushwick Starr in fall 2011, seems to me more of this variety. Though perhaps still with subversive intellectual tones.
Yes, I would say Other Elegant Lies… achieves a theatrical energy, and the production will be a live event of a level, that I would like to think of as characteristic of my work… even if past and future productions of mine could look and sound quite different. Also, I will not always direct my own work. This is a bit of a “vision” play …realized by an AMAZING design team, by the way.

A “vision” play! I love this term…Also, your use of “live theatrical event” also reminds me a bit of Rob Berry and the ethos around the Austin Fusebox Festival. At any rate, I understand you are working en famillemais c’est vrais?!
C’est vrais, c’est vrais. But Megan Emery Gaffney and I are very careful to put on our professional hats while in the room. Just ask her co-star, Winslow Corbett. Not one moment of personal discomfort, I hope! Mon frere is also involved, John Henry Boudreaux. We try not to curse at each other too much in front of everyone else.

You have a talented and attractive family, Frank. Dimmi: what is better: your Italian, French or Cajun?
Italiano, certo. No explanation for it. Just chose Firenze to study abroad. Cajun and French heritage, but don’t speak the languages. Pathetic.

Pas de toot! There’s time yet. So, what artist/piece of art is a secret influence?
Ooo, devilish question, Kippy. Secrets, secrets. Umm, David Byrne, the pop musician and prominent weirdo. Paul Thomas Anderson, the filmmaker. Caryl Churchill is easily my favorite playwright, but that’s no secret. And Donald Barthelme is my secret author hero.

I didn’t know this about Churchill. Tres interessant. I see you are taking a note from the regions and holding two talk backs, tell me about those.
Not ‘talk-backs’. Panels.

No one wants to hear me talk about my work–

I would disagree!–
And I wouldn’t ask such esteemed artists to talk about it either. (these include Jeff Jones and Sibyl Kempson on Sept. 9 moderated by Eliza Bent and Maria Striar and Erin Courtney moderated by Rachel Chavkin on Sept. 11). The panels will relate to the themes/world of my play, I guess, but not ABOUT the play at all. Or me. I’m interested in the theater being an evening—an entire event; giving you all kinds of perspectives and unexpected live encounters that have never happened before and will never happen again. These panels are part of that design.

You are a holistic thinker my friend. Kudos.
We also have a pre-show, improvised every night by Saint Fortune theatre company.

Ooh I love those young Saintly Fortunates! Each is more cute and lively than the last. Any thing else…?
I’ll see your two tails and raise you a tuckus! Pleasure to chat.

The plaisir is all mine. I hope we can dance in the Cajun style in Omaha and other exotic land with your lovely famille soon. A bientot, my friend.


Everything that Is the Case for Two Young Women on the Eve of the Great War Among Other Elegant Lies premiers at the very fine Incubator Arts Project Sept. 6-16.


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One Response to “other elegant people of the theatre: boudreaux edition (artlog #10)”

  1. Megan Emery Gaffney Says:

    Photo credit to Zack Rubenstein, Kippy! Can you add his name below the pic? Loooove you.

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