PLAY/ground: Playwright Micro-Interview 1 of 4

by Kathryn Walat
Directed by Michael Michetti
Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 11AM
When a renowned evolutionary biologist suffers a near-death experience, he discovers an obsession with music, which brings together four people who wrestle with the mysteries of the human mind, the human heart, the alchemy of the creative process, and that single spark that has the ability to change it all.

BOSTON COURTCreation is, most simply, a play about beginnings.  What was that initial spark of an idea that led you to begin work on the play?

KATHRYN WALAT:  The initial spark for my play Creation came from an article by neurologist Oliver Sachs that I read in the New Yorker magazine, about the connection between the brain and music. One of the cases was a man who had been struck by lightning, had a near-death experience, and then developed an obsession with music – in this case, he could actually play the piano, even though he never had before. But as the article outlined some of the seemingly miraculous changes in this man’s life, there was a short paragraph that indicated the somewhat disastrous effect these changes were having on the rest of his life: problems in his job as a surgeon, with his marriage (which fell apart), etc. And I thought – that short paragraph – that’s the play here.  At the time I was riding on a train and I tore the article out, put it in a file of “ideas” that I keep, and forgot about it. Months later when I had been about to start another project but was having doubts about it, I woke up in the middle of the night, went to my files and found the article. I knew pretty definitely then this was what my new play was going to be. I had been working on a libretto for an opera, and so I was very much in the mode and world of music. And I was so drawn to the idea that someone’s life, and even mind or self, can change in an instant. I think that happens to all the characters in the play, even though with Ian it happens most dramatically.

PLAY/ground is free an open to the public.  To make reservations for this play,  or any of the others in the festival, call 626-683-6883 ext. 206.


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