Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meet Darcy Fowler

As profiled by fellow newbie, Alex Borinsky.

Darcy Fowler laughs very generously and her whole face lights up when she smiles. She was one of the first people I met in Youngblood, and I liked her from the start. I’m looking forward to seeing one of her first plays, The Bird and the Two-Ton Weight, when it goes up this winter at E.S.T.

The Place

Darcy grew up in Massachusetts, on the Marblehead-Salem border. The town is sea-shantyish, she says – lots of lobsters and lobstermen. It’s witch country, too: here and there, a few people still claim to be witches.

The People

Darcy names Nicky Silver, Adam Bock, Aaron Sorkin, Laura Wade, Mel Brooks, the Marx Brothers, and Tina Fey when I ask her about her influences. Then she adds, “And my mother.” It becomes clear that we share a deep, aching love for the Muppets. Of the lot, Darcy identifies mostly with Fozzie Bear, the hard-loving comedian with a heart of gold. Her favorite play of the moment: The Pavilion, by Craig Wright.

The Play

The Bird and the Two-Ton Weight tells the story of a girl who comes home after death of her mother to act as the glue that will hold her family together. She finds a mysterious parcel on the front porch that seems to be her mother’s notebook. The play unfolds around the ways in which this notebook moves the girl through her grief.

Later I asked Darcy how much her plays emerge from her own experience. She answered that they start with her own experience, yes, but that the process of shaping the play involves a growing confidence in a structure and set of characters that draw the play away from the impulse that inspired it and towards a life of its own.

Darcy says that she enrolled at Syracuse to study acting, but that the faculty encouraged her and her classmates to make their own theater, to find confidence in their own voices. The Bird and the Two-Ton Weight came out of that encouragement. It was the project on which she says she discovered that “I had this voice I didn’t fully know I had.”

The Present

These days, Darcy writes, performs with the Story Pirates, and develops a webisode with friends called “You Make My Dreams Come True,” about a group of girls who start a Hall and Oats cover band (http://www.youmakemydreamscometrue.com/. Seriously good.). Though the majority of her roommates are musicians, Darcy at first denies any musical skill of her own. “If I could I would play the drums,” she says, and pauses. Then: “I play the drums when I’m drunk. It’s a great way to get out excess energy.”

She is an ardent apostle of the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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