PLAY/ground Interview: Martin Zimmerman

We asked each of our PLAY/ground playwrights to answer one question pertaining to their play. Here’s what they had to say…

Martin Zimmerman author of Seven Spots on the Sun:

Q. Was there a particular incident that provided inspiration for “Seven Spots on The Sun”?  If so, how did your relationship to the situation(s) evolve and change throughout the writing process?

A. Seven Spots on the Sun was actually inspired by a number of real life situations. A lot of the ideas the play wrestles with came out of a research trip I made to Argentina in 2007, during which I interviewed family members of people who were disappeared by the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-1983. I went to Argentina to investigate the relationship between justice, redemption, revenge, and forgiveness, but when I returned to the U.S., I struggled with how to interrogate these ideas dramatically and theatrically. It was during this struggle that I heard the most chilling story about perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide dying only months later during cholera outbreaks in their refugee camps. As soon as I heard the story, I knew I had a central story structure for my play. Of course, from there, the work on the play was far from over. I worked on the play for the next several years trying to render a world that is vivid and visceral while also epic and larger than life. I have continued drawing on real life situations to lend specificity to the world of the play, but the goal was never to accurately represent the factual reality of these historical situations, but rather to investigate how people mourn and manage in the face of such immense violence and loss.

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