In this third and final intallment of LWT’s exclusive interview with Samuel D. Hunter, Literary Manager Christine Scarfuto asks the playwright to touch on the connection between personal and shared history and the role it plays in the characters’ lives.
Q: How important is it for these characters to understand their personal and shared history as they confront the future?
This is going to be an incredibly obvious thing to say, but almost all of our plays are fundamentally about psychology. So, unpacking truth in regards to one’s past is sort of a tent pole of Western drama. But what I was interested in with these two plays is to make that personal history extend back into our shared history, back into myth as you say. It’s one thing to write a character who’s still living under the yoke of some damaging thing their parent did or said to them, but it’s another thing entirely to live under the yoke of a person who’s face is printed on the back of a quarter. For Alice in Lewiston, her family history has become a black cloud hanging over her that has been gathering mass over the years. The play is about people who are stuck, who are in some way unable to move forward, because they’ve lost faith or have become disenfranchised, or a mixture of those things. And it’s only through one another that they’re finally able to make small steps forward.