Loren Niemi

Hey y’all! I have returned from the Land of Corn and Soybeans (Illinois), and I come bearing interviews from performers this weekend! Here, for your reading enjoyment:

1) Have you performed at Patrick’s before? Yes, approximately once a year since 2001.

2) How and why did you come to write ‘Inviting the Wolf In’?

It came out of twenty years of doing storytelling and community organizing more or less simultaneously. What was clear to me was that there was a need for people to tell (their) difficult stories and they wanted both permission and a way to think about how to do it.

3) What are the different things you enjoy about writing for a theatre audience and writing for a reading audience?

Writing, actually creating oral narrative, for a theater audience is about their being in the room – their breath, their silence, their physical presence – with you as a performer. So even though I may be the only one speaking, there is a dialogue going on in which both parties contribute to shaping the performance. Things like intonation, pitch, pauses (silence), my physical activity or stillness all contribute to what the adience’s experience is, while when i am creating for a reader, the focus shifts from what is happenng in the present to what is happening in their own imagination and emotional connection through the written words. Both are rich and image laden but each is distinct.

4) What was it like working with the Post-Troubles truth and reconciliation process?

In Northern Ireland, they talked about the 37 years of “the troubles” and the 10 years of “waging peace” and would circle around to the fact that the wounds were still fresh. At this point, they are working on the truth side of the equation – trying to find ways to speak directly to what was said and done, not said and not done – but are quite clear that there has not been enough time and opportunity to get to the reconciliation side of the experience. At this point, reconciliation does not mean forgive and forget, or even forgive, but instead it means acknowledging the fact that everyone had
a part in the wounding and all are wounded (though not equally). My role was always to listen and to encourage folks to say more.

5) Can you tell us a little about the piece you’ll be doing this weekend?

I joked on my Facebook invitation about channeling my Inner Lewis Black, (who a number of folks in Indianapolis seem to think I bear a verbal resemblance to) but what I am going to explore is the improvised intersection of political rants/dreams/metaphors for understanding where we are and where we are going. It will be something on Friday and most likely something else on Saturday….

6) What is the one thing you would most like the audience to walk away with from your performance?

A sense of satisfaction that my head did not explode and no small animals had to die in the course of my 15 minutes of stage time. Whether or not I can keep from spitting, falling down and kicking like a 2 year old mid tantrum, or tear off my clothes is anybody’s guess including my own.

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