Coming off of a triumphant run at TheatreLab of her play, Soundview Summer, playwright Kate Gill goes from scaring us about the all-too-real threat of nuclear radiation to the near-distant future threat of lab life ala science fiction. This focused article writer shared a few comments about art and life and its intersection.
Tell us about this latest work?
My play, “Rescuing Reagan”, is a comedy in which this government-funded, scientific experiment at a University lab has reached young adulthood – he’s Reagan, the hybrid ape/human aka “Project Gunga Din”. Although he lives in a cage and has never left the lab, he’s moody, difficult and focused mainly on food and sex (not unlike most of the University students.) Now the government wants to claim him for use in medical experiments. Can he be rescued from this fate? Can he find his way in the world? Can people embrace him as one of them.
Your plays pack powerful messages. Do you feel compelled to write on such topics?
The inspiration for this was a rumor years ago that people were seeing these giant chickens running loose in northern Connecticut. It might have very well have been the drugs these people were taking but it did get me thinking about what might be secretly going on in government-funded labs.
There was a so-so sci-fi movie a long time ago called Night Of The Lepus about giant rabbits and then there’s H.G. Wells’ Food of the Gods. Go-on…
It seems likely they have created hybrid humans. Which means we may need to deal with the moral and social issues these “experiments” create. Sometimes it’s easier to laugh about things that scare you so I guess that might be why “Reagan” became a comedy.
Of course these days you don’t need a lab to create an underclass that is not seen as fully human and given the rights and dignity they deserve – including food, house, education, work and freedom to decide how they will be governed and they will worship.
Give us your thoughts on the importance of Indie Theatre and Film.
Indie Theater and Film are on the cusp of being mainstream. If you look online you can see that the advances in technology (and the decrease in its cost) have made film production accessible to almost everyone. And technology is also transforming the theater experience in exciting and cost efficient ways – get a space and a couple of projectors and your play can be anywhere.