Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jen Silverman Delves Into The Dangerous Mind of Chiara Atik

While an unseasonable snowstorm raged, new Youngblood Jen Silverman met other new Youngblood Chiara Atik deep below-ground in an abandoned soviet bunker to interrogate her for top secret information. As helicopters and byplanes and drones hummed aboveground and musclebound Siberian bodyguards stood by the doors with their uzis clutched in hand, Ms. Atik revealed the following. Burn after reading, ladies & gents. And know that you have been one of the select few entrusted with this knowledge.

—How would you describe your style?
I just spent like 20 minutes agonizing over this question. Impossible. I just asked a friend. He said "lightly formal." Oy.

—What's the strangest situation you've ever been in?
Ahh, the one thing that pops into my mind right now is that when I was a kid, I accidentally saw Shari Lewis topless. As in, Lamb Chop's Sing-A-Long's Shari Lewis. She had a house in my Grandparent's neighborhood in California, but for some reason I was under the impression that she had moved out. So a neighborhood kid and I snuck onto the property to "explore" ... I think I literally thought we would find some discarded Lamb Chop puppet or souvenir. Instead, we found Shari Lewis sunbathing topless in the backyard. Her husband was like "Can I help you??" and we were like "oh....we wanted to see Shari Lewis?" (not true.) and he was like "Well, you found her....". And then we ran away.

—Is there anything that MAKES YOU SO ANGRY about/ in theatre?

No, actually! Surprising, as it is fairly easy to make me SO ANGRY about something.

—If you could say something to your teenage self, what would you say?
You were totally right: homework is busywork. Making a poster board is not a skill that denotes intelligence. 50 math problems to understand a single concept is ridiculous. As an adult, I feel like most of my teenage indignation was justified. But I should have been sweeter to my mother.

—What are you really grateful to your family for?
Oh, what a nice question! My parents are both supportive in their own hilarious ways. My dad is probably the one person on earth who won't get bored of listening to the mundane details of my life, and happily comes to any show or production, no matter how small. My mom is great for brainstorming and fun to bounce ideas off of. During the work-day, she's one of my favorite people to chat with on GChat, so I'm grateful to have a Mom who's hip with technology in that way. My little brother is so smart and funny and just the best company. And my entire extended family -- aunts, uncles, grandparents -- is wonderful and fun. So I'm grateful for all of that!

—Who/ what are you inspired by?

I think nearly every play I've written can be directly traced back to a trip. Traveling and seeing new places. Also books. But, yeah, mostly travel because the physical act of going someplace new sort sort of opens up my imagination and lets my mind do the same.

—Is there a place in the world that feels like home? Where is it?
My aunt's house in Philadelphia, which for the past 7 years has been a cozy refuge from New York whenever I've needed it, is definitely the place that most feels like home.

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