PLAY/ground: Playwright Micro-Interview 3 of 4

by Brian James Polak
directed by John Lawler
Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 11:00am
A young subway musician grapples with his own feelings of disconnection from family, would-be-lovers and briefly-glimpsed acquaintances by exploring the philosophies of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. On his final day as a guitarist the commuters patiently wait for him to kill the noise of the subway with a tune on the guitar. What does it take for a world defined by isolation to come together?

BOSTON COURT: Underground deals with the philosophies of the Unabomber. How did you come to utilize his manifesto as an inspiration for theatrical exploration?

BRIAN JAMES POLAK: Several years ago I Googled “Unabomber manifesto” because I needed a distraction from the play I was writing at the time. As I read through crazy paragraph after crazy paragraph I started to realize that, taken out of context, some of this stuff made sense. That led to the thought that there must be at least a small collective of Ted Kaczynski worshippers who read his manifesto and thought, “hell yeah!” I kept thinking, it’s easy to pull out the sections that resonate with you and ignore those that either make no sense or contradict the ones that resonate. That’s what a lot of people do with the bible. The moment the word “bible” entered my mind was the moment the idea for a play really started. In about a week I ended up writing a 30-page monologue about a subway musician with a Unabomber obsession. And over the years as it has been read and developed it has become a much larger play with many characters circling around this one person. Ultimately it is a play about religious fanaticism, although I’m sure most people may not see it that way.

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.


One response to “PLAY/ground: Playwright Micro-Interview 3 of 4

  1. Brian is a terrific playwright, and I’m glad his plays are starting to be enjoyed by a larger audience. Wish I could fly out to LA for this reading!


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