As we move forward through the production run for FRESH FISH 2.0, we’ll be interviewing our participating playwrights. Mike Kimball is the author of ESTRUS IN AMAZONIA.
What first motivated you to write plays?
I was a novelist (Firewater Pond, Undone, Mouth to Mouth, Green Girls) until 2003, when I was asked to write a play commemorating the 350th anniversary of our town, York, Maine. Wanting to be civic-minded, I wrote the play–for 37 characters–then cut it back to 33. Half the town got involved, and it was the most fun I’d ever had writing. So I quit novels and I’ve been a passionate playwright ever since.
From where did ESTRUS IN AMAZONIA originally come?
I have no idea.
What other plays have you written, of which you’re particularly proud?
The Secret of Comedy, a full-length play that was recently given a reading at Abingdon Theatre Company, in NYC. Ghosts of Ocean House, nominated for the 2007 Edgar Award (Mystery Writers of America) and is scheduled for a July run at the Utah State Theater. Best Enemies was the most fun–about two odd-couple cowboys, lone survivors of a sabotaged rodeo cruise, stranded together on a tiny desert island.
What other theatre-related arts do you practice?
Music and sound design. This summer I’m going to direct for the first time, my 20-minute play The Brownwater Legend, about the brain-addled cowboy who invented soup-in-a-paint-can.
All things being equal, if an army of Amazons trapped you in a cave, what would you do?
Is it mating season?
What was your most memorable theatrical experience?
One night after a performance of The Secret of Comedy, about a humorist dying of pancreatic cancer, after the audience had left an elderly couple remained in their seats while I moved furniture and swept the stage floor. Eventually the gentleman came down and said to me, “Did you write that play?” I told him that I had. He reached out and shook my hand, then went up to collect his wife, and they left.
What teachers have affected you as a writer and why?
I had a college professor who said, “If you can talk, you can write.” Many years later, when casting about for direction, I remembered those words.
What would we find under your bed?
Hold on . . . Okay. One spool of blue thread, a Rolling Stone magazine, The Stone Diaries, assorted socks, magazine inserts, a sword, two shoe boxes, a jar of vitaman E creme, and a few receipts.
What are you reading these days?
Student manuscripts and more student manuscripts.
If you could host a dinner party with any three people, currently living or not, who would you invite and what would you serve?
Lowell George, Muddy Waters, and Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel). We’ll have tables of breads, cheeses, fruits, seared tuna steaks, and dark chocolate, along with the best brandys, beers, whiskeys and rums. Lowell and Muddy will play and sing, while Emma kicks me around the room. No, wait. That’s old. My family, yeah. I would invite Glenna, Jesse, and Sarah–and Jesse would prepare the kind of food he serves at The Memphis Taproom!
ESTRUS IN AMAZONIA is just one of the many exciting plays that you can see in FRESH FISH 2.0, playing at Walking Fish Theatre from April 3 through 18 Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday, April 19 at 2pm. Tickets are available online or at the door, and there’s NEVER A HANDLING FEE!