Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Boston Theatre - Lopez On The Move

For those Bostonians who don't know already, Melinda Lopez's Gary opens this week at the Boston Playwrights Theatre. Get your tickets fast, there aren't many seats there.

Lopez has an incredibly busy time ahead of her as she is gathering commissions from such places as Laguna Playhouse and South Coast Rep.

Louise Kennedy has a very nice profile of the talented and lovely playwright in the Globe.

In the interview, Kennedy asks about how Lopez is handling balancing all of this success:

"I think balance is overrated," she says. "I think you have to do what
you are doing, and other things will suffer. If I can't write this week I can't write this week because of family commitments or my teaching schedule is heavier, and God forbid I exercise. I don't even try to balance things anymore. I think it's totally impossible."

Upon further reflection on the notion of "balance," Lopez sends an
e-mail: "How the hell is a passionate person supposed to live in balance? Balance is colorless and dull - and I much prefer to do what I am doing - cooking dinner or crafting dialogue - at 1000 percent - and fix everything else later," she writes. "Balance is just another thing we are told we need to strive for - and women especially get told this - I am already striving for other things, and trying to manufacture balance is too much work. In the arts, you are
either working or you are not working. That's balance. Plus: (My friend has four little kids. Ask her about balance.)"

Lopez's observation about how women are especially expected to embrace balance, made me recall a similar interview question to a fictional character recently.

Tilda Swinton, Oscar Winner for her role as a corporate counsel in Michael Clayton, had one of the best moments in the film when her character is being interviewed by a Television crew. The character has received the questions beforehand and we see her struggling in her hotel room beforehand, trying to formulate an answer to a question about " work/life balance." (This speaks to Lopez's observation that successful women are probably asked about this way more than men.)

Swinton's answer, during the actual interview is the following:

“Who needs balance? When you really enjoy what you do . . . . there’s your balance.”

Of course, unlike Lopez's answer, Swinton's character has thrown herself 1000 percent only into her job. Her moorings come loose very quickly, and when she suddenly finds herself with access to the power over human life her internal scales, we find, are wildly inaccurate from disuse.

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