Both. Sides. Now.

Both. Sides. Now. Or Buttermilk Pancakes: Q&A with playwright Tatiana Rivera

VIP Playwright Tatiana Rivera, whose play Both. Sides. Now. Or Buttermilk Pancakes opens tomorrow, November 19th, 2010, at Schapiro Studio, took a quick breather to answer some questions from fellow VIP playwright David Rosar Stearns.

STEARNS: Where did the inspiration for this play come from?
RIVERA: Machiavelli. Joni Mitchell. Dead babies. Oh, and butter.

What is the play about?
Absolutely nothing. And love, I guess. Same thing, innit?

But really, it’s an abstract retelling of a time in my life that had more of an impact than I ever thought it could. I thought getting it started was the hardest thing in the world, but finishing was the hardest thing I had to do.

I know that you are also Directing your play, how has that experience been, being both writer and director?
Torture. I will never argue with a Director or Actor who is frustrated with my plays ever again. But that’s probably a lie.

Why the two titles?
Originally, the play was titled simply Buttermilk Pancakes. But no matter how hard I tried, i always fucked up making pancakes. I never got better. Many people tried to teach me, but it never stuck and so I stopped.

Also, Joni Mitchell was the reason I was able to chug through the play because her song “Both Sides Now” really seemed to free me. And really evokes the overall feeling of the play and the sense of duality/two sides of everything.

So, the two titles just sort of stuck.

Do you have a favorite recipe for pancakes?
I don’t know how to make pancakes. I eat waffles or french toast instead. Pancakes make me depressed.

How does it feel to have your play finish off the first half of the VIP season?
It feels windy. And wet. Though that may just be the product of the weather outside and my open window.

What was the best part of this process for you?
Learning to hand over something so personal and learning to let it go. Motherhood is a hard thing. But, my baby had to grow up sometime, right?

What was the hardest?
Answering questions about my play. Why can’t everyone just jump into my head and figure out the answers for themselves?

How does it feel to see your work go from page to stage?
The characters in my head act everything out with a lot less emotion than the actors do on stage. So. It’s weird to see humanity in the characters rather than them just being robots.

Any advice for the newest playwrights at Columbia?

Both. Sides. Now. or buttermilk pancakes runs November 19-21, 2010, at Schapiro Studio. Click here for VIP information and schedule.


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