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All right, let's do the show. Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck next? What the fuck? And here's what's happening. I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast, obviously broadcasting from another location, a room with a bit of bounce in it. I know you know that I get hung up on bounce. I can hear the sound bouncing around a bit, but I'm doing what I can.
I'm hunkered down away from reality a bit up in up north. I'm in Big Sur and I've been up here for three days. There's no TV. The Wi-Fi is spotty. I made a choice. I made a choice to come up here. As I told you guys before, that I was checking out for a few days because I felt like I'd done all I could and that I just I didn't want to get caught up. I didn't want to be caught up in the frenetic unfolding of numbers and maps all day long and all night long.
I just I couldn't handle it.
And I believe I made the right choice. I'm staying up here. It's still one more day.
I'm recording this on Wednesday afternoon, just barely afternoon. All I know right now is that ballots are still being counted. There's no no reason to heed any declarations of victory by the monster and that every ballot will be counted.
And hopefully in terms of that particular process, it will be honored when the outcome is declared properly.
I will say today on the show we do have an interview with Heidi Schreck. She's a playwright. And I found out about her by seeing her Broadway play, What the Constitution Means to me.
She was also a kind of a friend of my my my late girlfriend, Lynn Shelton. And I went with her to see the show. She had seen it before. I'd never seen it. And we went and spoke to Heidi backstage a bit. And I was really taken with her and her passion and and also just the fact that it educated me.
I mean, this is a this is a personal play about the Constitution, about the lack of representation for large swaths, large numbers of people. And she made it very personal. And I think it's it's also relevant to what's happening right now to the sort of drop off in younger people voting, younger people feeling like they're engaged in this process, younger people not even educated in civics or what government means or how it works or the the basic structure or how our voices are to be honored.
I mean, this this play about the Constitution is really about women and people of color not really being represented at all in the evolution of even the minimal representation that they experience to this day.
And looking at the Supreme Court as it stands now and the sort of shaking of the foundations of this republic, this democracy, you know, on a constitutional level, it just it seems like the right show to air right now.
Now, again, I I'm up here and I am detached.
I'm looking out at the ocean at night. I'm looking at stars. I'm feeling the sort of smallness of being a human in a beautiful world and wondering, you know, how how that world is going to look eventually, given that we have ongoing ecological disasters that need to be addressed, ongoing governmental disasters that need to be addressed. And, you know, will they be addressed? I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I know there's a lot of people that want them addressed, but what do we have to do?
What is our personal responsibility?
It's odd because when I came up here, I felt like, hey, I voted. I've been talking to you guys, you know, twice a week throughout this, being honest about what's happening without being a pundit or being another source of news, but just being a guy that's relating.
But it starts to kind of really feel like the calling is going to be a little deeper as we move into hopefully will be a Biden presidency that obviously Trump is going to be an American cult leader, the leader of Trump ism in this country, even after this election. So what is required of us as individuals to sort of, you know, guarantee constitutional representation, guarantee the rights of the underclass, you know, guarantee that we'll move towards saving the planet?
I mean, how do you how do we do this?
How do we it has to be more than just lip service, which I am guilty of. Well, I think somewhat guilty of feeling like we've we've done something and maybe we have. But is there more we can do? I don't know. I mean, these are thoughts that I hope we're all entertaining, but it's all terrifying.
And the fact that this was even close is a is a terrible indicator. The country look, I had a dark night of the soul, I guess, as as many of you did, I don't even know if it's a dark night of the soul as much as it is a sweaty night of terror.
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So yeah, even up here where I've disconnected myself for reasons of my own sanity, I didn't want to sit there alone and panic in front of in front of a TV set with my cat Buster.
I chose to sort of force myself into a situation where I wouldn't have access or easy access to the the ongoing shit show and, you know, you know, maps and numbers, maps and numbers, districts and numbers, counties and numbers, names and numbers.
And I did avoid it. And I know it's still happening. But nonetheless, I was exhausted yesterday just with the panic and with the fear, and I went to bed at like 8:00 at night up here in the country on the edge of a cliff.
I didn't sleep on the edge of a cliff, but I kind of did metaphorically in my mind's eye, just sweating through a night of tossing and turning existential terror and few dreams.
I had some food dreams. I ate some some overly rich food. And I think it fucked with me. I'd like to blame it all on the food, but I think it's a it's the fault of America that was the cause of most of it in my and in my personalizing of it.
I mean, this is also the thing is that I tend to fear for myself. And I have to sort of expand that because so we're all in the same fucking boat here, we're all under the onslaught of plague and potential fascism. We're all in that. And I have to remember that because I think that is the core of what differentiates a progressive or a monster, really.
I mean, there's just this weird sort of identity politics business that goes on that these Republicans have convinced people that there's a huge white white voting bloc that always shows up to vote Republican.
They've been taught to fear that what they've got will be taken from them, that somehow they will be they will be robbed of their birthright, that somehow their property, their money, their way of life will be taken from them. And that is the most important thing I want. What's mine I want to keep what's mine. Fuck you.
And this particular president is one of the great fucking artists of all times because he's taken that idea of independence of of it's some sort of malignant mutated monster of an idea of of working hard to get what you got and holding on to it because it's different, because he steals what he has.
He Griff's he does it without paying attention to laws or right or wrong. There's no moral compass. There's no truth compass. It's just that by any means necessary, take it.
And somehow or another that's become easily rationalized by so many people in their minds, they were already selfish, but now it's like fuck them all and fuck laws and fuck them if they're not smart enough to get it.
That's why he's surrounded by fucking grifters. And what about fascism? What about this team sports notion of how government works the red and the blue team's? Because it turns out that nothing really made a difference in this election. There were bigger numbers, but it wasn't the economy, it wasn't covid, it wasn't the debates. It wasn't fucking anything more people voted, but percentage wise, people voted the way they did in 2016, as they did today.
And then I always get concerned about is it that these Americans crave a strong man? Do they crave actual fascism? Do they want a daddy that will, you know, just kind of keep a myopic, sort of narrow minded view of what life should be? And they were willing to sort of kill or vote for that? Is that what it is? Or is it more shallow than that? I just wonder, you know, there's this assumption that conscience is part of the human brain.
The conscience has as evolved in our species from some sort of primitive idea or biological notion that that that animals as we as animals, we we care for for others in our species.
That conscience evolved.
I'm not a philosopher, but it just seems that that conscience is something that requires vigilance and that, you know, many people who are monsters think they have conscience and that it's completely relative to to the moral construction of your values and that it's easily fucked with.
And that, you know, if you watch, depending on what information you take in and your inability or lack of desire to mind your mind so they don't mind your mind, that compromises your conscience. I think we underestimate. The epistemic crisis in this country, this lack of seeing or accepting or believing what is true, if there is repetition involved and you know, there is a sort of hypnotic non truth posited in your fucking brain recording machine, and that's what you believe in.
And I don't I know it gets a little crazy, but this all goes back to for me, to the idea of, you know, people need to believe in something. And I think that at this juncture, we are in sort of the United State. Of cognitive dissonance of different kinds. I don't know if we ever come out of it, but I do know one thing, that that there's something very shallow. It's not even it's tribalism, I guess, but it's also just it feels like just team sports.
Have you ever noticed on Twitter how many trolls, if you go to their page, just sports have it, just that there's no real civic engagement other than fuck you, fuck you. And I know it goes on both sides a bit, but I think the basic premise.
In terms of the difference between what is thought to be democratic or thought to be progressive, is it that team wants to make sure that everyone is taking care of that we spread the resources out, that we all have health care, that we all have these basic things that could make life comfortable, that everybody has a shot.
Has an equal opportunity to make a go of it. Yeah, that is the idea of of of the collective and that is the idea of the progressive and that is sort of ingrained in the Democratic idea. That's one team that I guess you would call the blue team. And then the other team is really all about wanting to see the blue team cry. That's it. We just want to see them cry. That's the depth of it. Fuck you.
I got mine and cry, baby. Are you going to cry? Cry. That's the other team, and that's the team that is sort of brought to a fervor. A fury by this lawless fuckin king that we have in place right now, so look, man again. I don't know exactly what's happening, I don't know what will be happening when this post. But I do know that we're doing our best during this pandemic to make sure things don't get out of control, and that includes facial hair.
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Now, this is a nice conversation. It's specific. It's about the American government, about the system, about the Constitution, the filmed version of Heidi Skytrax. What the Constitution means to me is now streaming on Amazon Prime. And you'll hear, Heidi talk about living in Russia in her 20s and her impressions of the land and the people. But after our talk, she wanted to add some thoughts about her time there. And I thought it was important to make sure you had this context.
When you're listening to our conversation, she she wrote me an email and this is what she wrote. Quote, I was working as a journalist in St. Petersburg in the 1990s, and I watched as our country fucked Russia over by withholding aid and promoting disaster capitalism at the exact moment they were trying to build a democracy. And now we are paying for that dearly. I saw the divide between rich and poor become so huge. It was absurd, just like it is here now.
I saw social systems fall. I saw nationalism and racism and anti-Semitism become loud and violent. I saw my Russian journalist colleague get harassed. I also interviewed Putin, which is a less interesting story than it seems, but I thought he was an asshole even back then. Even if we win this week, I fear how bad things could get. I often think of Masha Gessen quoting the Russian phrase, We thought we had hit rock bottom and then someone knocked from below, unquote.
She also, Heidi, also wanted to give some context to the part where we talk about her family. So this is something to keep in mind when you hear that section quoting, Heidi now, there were no abusive men in my nuclear family, but there was a mother who sometimes couldn't function as a mother because of the horrific abuse she endured growing up. So my childhood was, quote unquote, good, except for the rare but awful days my mother locked herself in her room and cried and wouldn't come out.
I've spent my adult life trying to reconcile my two mothers, the brilliant, loving one and the one who couldn't function. And I guess I wrote this play about generational trauma because the abuse inflicted by shithead men and the lawmakers and culture that enables those men really does last for generations. And it affects all of us. And I think it's part of what's going on right now in this country, unquote.
I hope that adds something. As you listen to me and Heidi Schreck talk about her show, what the Constitution means to me.
Hi, Heidi. Hi, Mark, how are you? You know, I'm doing OK. I have new babies. I just gave birth in April, so I have twin girls. Oh, my God. And it's fantastic. But I. I don't sleep a lot.
Twin girls, new fresh borns, fresh born now. Was this the plan? Well, yes, I mean, I'm in my late 40s, so it was quite planned and you had you had them yourself? I had them myself. That's bold.
You just said that we're going to do it. We're going to roll the dice.
Well, it was it required a lot of science.
We did IVF, OK, last August, actually, while I was performing this play I'm doing on Amazon and I we did IVF, I got pregnant. I was very excited. And then we went to the doctor and. Well, first first of all, they asked us how many embryos we wanted to put in. And I said nine. I said one. Yeah. And the doctor said, that's good, because at your age it could be very dangerous to carry more than one.
And I said, great. So we put in one and then went six weeks later and they said they you apparently have two in there. And I said, well, what about that thing where it's very dangerous for me to have two? And he was like, it's going to be fine.
And it was it's good that he switched up his tone. That would not have that would have not have been the time for him to go like, oh, fuck.
Well, exactly. I burst into hysterical laughter and then, yeah, that's pretty much how I felt this whole, I guess, 14 months now.
Yeah. Well, I mean, congratulations.
Thank you. It's really thank you. They're incredible. Yeah.
Well, I mean, it's it's got to be a challenging and scary time to realise that, you know, you're bringing kids into this situation.
But but you seem to be a fairly I don't know if I get optimism, but you believe in the power for people to change. I do. I do believe in that. So, yeah.
So, like, maybe you're not I have to assume that when you have children at this juncture in history, you don't say like, oh, what did I just do, you know. Right.
I mean, there have been a few moments when I've said what did I just did?
And I am. Scared for that, right? You know, so much feels precarious right now. Right. I do sometimes have a. I wonder whatever, it's wonderful to be alive, so I do believe that, yes, I do. I do hope there is a future waiting for that.
Yeah, we wonder what the world's going to be. Well, I mean, that's what I mean. I guess, you know, I I saw the show with Lynne.
Yeah. I remember you came backstage, the two of you. It was wonderful.
Yeah. And I can't I can't quite remember what your history with her was because you both come from Seattle. Right. But you work together.
Yes. I met Lynn in 2001. She was editing. I was in a movie version of Hedda Gabler that was based on a we had done the play in Seattle with my theater company and she was the editor on that movie. And I remember going to the editing room with my director to meet her and talk with her and thinking she's the smartest person in the room.
And this is before she decided to become a director.
And I immediately thought, this person is extraordinary and I loved working with her.
I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry she's gone. And I'm so sorry for you. Yeah, she was a really remarkable person. And I and then to watch her, I left Seattle right after that, moved to New York and to watch her just kind of break out as this brilliant filmmaker was, I have to say, I remember being not surprise based based on my work with her.
I thought, of course, like, that person was so giant, like there of course she became that. And then and then I remember kind of learning I think I read an article about her later when my sister sister came out talking about how she said, I think age thirty seven had decided to become a filmmaker because she'd seen that talk back with Claire Disney, I think, who had not made her first movie until she was 40 years old. Right.
And and she realized, oh, I have I have three years left to do this. And I remember actually being really inspired by that.
I didn't start writing for film or television until I was in my forties. And I I kind of looked to Lynn. So I think there was like a kind of chain effect there where I she looked to Claire and I looked to Lynn and thought, oh, it's not it's never actually too late. You always feel you always think it's too late to do the things you really want. And I and she definitely made me realize it wasn't too late to do the things I wanted.
And you just had twins and and. Right. Yes.
That's another thing I decided apparently it wasn't too late to do in my late forties as I run around with this like, horrible, horrible back problems and a giant scar.
Yeah, yeah. Lynne was amazing. And it's been really hard to to sort of, you know you know, you live with us.
I think everybody does.
But you just don't there's no reason, you know, your brain is sort of like, why?
Why does you know, there's no answer to these things, you know?
But I always like hearing about her because, like, in my experience with her is so limited to the small amount of time we spent with each other. So like there's all these other lives that she had that I don't know about.
Yeah, well, and she you know, she also had I didn't learn until later that she she and I had very similar beginnings in downtown theater in New York as well. Like she started as an actor. I was very excited to learn that about her. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
She was. Yeah, she and she could do it, you know, she could do the acting. Oh yeah.
But when you guys were when you were in Seattle, like the thing about this show, you know, the what the Constitution means to me is like I had, you know, when women wanted me to go see it and she really sort of sold it, you know, kind of pushed me to it.
I was sort of like, I don't want to learn. Is it learning?
You know, like there was like, how could this be a good show?
I mean, look at the title, you know, so know the titles.
Everybody hates the let me just sounds like I don't want to go to class today, but like even like watching it again, which I did last night, you know, it's incredibly moving, engaged performance, but it's an engaged, emotionally engaged, you know, story about how, you know, this thing affects us personally, the Constitution and what because we all take a lot for granted.
And I think that when you sort of start to see your own life through the through the context of the Constitution, then see the sort of the life of women through it and the life of people who are underrepresented, you know.
Comes this sort of beautiful tapestry of emotions and facts. Yeah, and and it was very you know, you not only do you learn, but you sort of learn. There's a sort of an empathy that comes through. You know, if you are paying attention, you can't really watch your show and be like, what the fuck is this lady talking about?
I mean, you can I think some people do watch, but I don't know.
I hope not. Yeah. I mean, really to me, I think. I didn't really know what the thing was when I started to make it, but it became clear pretty quickly that it was a story about my mom and about my grandma and really trying to understand I mean, also, I guess actually trying to figure out. The mystery of my grandma, which was how how did this woman, who was really the smartest, strongest woman I knew, who loved us all so much and took such great care of her grandchildren, like how did she live in this abusive relationship all these years and and not and failed to protect her children?
And without you know, without spoiling for for people too much.
I mean, I think that what was fascinating is at some point, like, we can go back, but at some point you realize that that experience that you had, you know, touring the country, debating the Constitution, there must have been some kind of aha moment where you're like, oh, this is the portal to run my memoir to run my life through.
Like, I don't. Yeah.
I don't know how you workshop that because there is there's sort of a tradition of this is a one person show, but it's a small show and it is an autobiographical show. So it does sort of have a vibe of a one person show.
And so many of those are kind of straight up kind of this is what happened to me. And there's a self-importance to them that can be tedious.
But with this, because of this beautiful device you have, which is debating the Constitution, you can integrate your story, the story of your family, the story of women, the story of domestic abuse and rights for people you know, into this broader context of why this country works.
That must have been a big day to realize that you could do that.
That was that was actually a big day, a big, scary day. I yeah. I don't know which kind of came first. I think at first I just thought it would be fun to write about being a teenage girl doing this contest, like the contest itself had a lot of fun stuff about it. I was usually the only girl. It was the 80s.
And what was it, a debate? It was at a debate thing. It was a speech contest. So you would show up and you had to give an eight minute speech about the Constitution. And then my favorite part, as I say in the show, was drawing. You had to draw an amendment from a hat and speak about it extemporaneously. I just found that just so fucking thrilling for some reason. I don't know. I think that maybe when I was 15, I learned that my that I had an interesting brain know, I really liked thinking on my feet like that.
And I when I started making the piece, I just thought, that seems like a fun time to write about, it's the 80s. I had really big permed hair. There was a lot, you know, Reagan was president.
There's a lot there. It seemed interesting. And then pretty quickly, I started. I mean, I gave myself the task of of taking the prompt of the contest seriously, which is draw a personal connection between your own life and the Constitution, which is just like a social studies assignment, basically. Right. But I thought what would happen if I did that now that I'm at the time in my thirties, I've lived a lot. I've traveled the world, I've had an abortion.
I've had a really interesting relationship with my own family history.
I've seen a lot of things.
And so as soon as I started trying to do that, I realized what the show was going to be, that it was interesting, these four generations of women in my family.
So that's interesting.
So you were really kind of like going back and writing about the experience of doing that when you were a teenager and then the actual question of the actual, you know, contest.
Yes. Yeah. Was provocative. Good question. It turned out very good. I didn't realize at 15 I was just trying to fake it at 15. And when the money was just like, what sounds personal, I don't know.
And really the that prompt led me much further than I wanted to go. I'm actually a. Pretty private person, which seems absurd to say now, considering how much of my life is out now for the world to view, but I I felt OK talking about having an abortion.
I felt that was important to talk about. We know that there are these statistics, one in three, one in four, depending on what you look at. Women have had an abortion. People, I should say, you know, not just women have abortions, but. And so I knew is an important thing to not not that I shouldn't be afraid to talk about that it was important, but I didn't want to talk about the history of violence in my family that that felt taboo.
It's heavy and, you know, it's heavy because.
Well, I mean, I think that the way you kind of structure it in and also, again, you have to set up the history of violence in your family.
You know, you set up, you know, Washington becoming a state, you know, plowing under the rights of indigenous people, indigenous women and then, you know, moving sort of basically hostage white women from the East Coast into this strange dark lager town with just a bunch of kind of like monsters who are chopping down trees and drinking, you know.
And so, like like I think that you're painting a really good picture of it, oddly. But oddly, that tempers the story of the personal story of domestic abuse.
Like, you know, if you were just to come out and just say, like, you know, you're very good at balancing, you know, the weighty with the comedic, but also like there's something that affords you a little less, you know, potential risk when you sort of contextualize the beginning of your the known domestic abuse in your family with this horrendous kind of national undertaking to.
Yeah, yeah. You know what I mean.
Well, and all the violence is related. Of course, I will say that discovery about what happened in Washington state, that was a shocking day for me. I was in my little office looking through old newspapers on that. I don't know, I got a subscription to a bunch of those sites and I was reading the old newspapers and I found, you know, the the the newspaper from my great, great grandmother's town.
And I saw this these headlines. And I was like, there are women being.
A murdered and beat up every day in this newspaper, like I don't it was really, truly shocking thing. I had no idea. And then when I read the story of Aissa Mersa, who brought all the white women from the east to Washington State back in 1865, I that was a shocking story to me. And then I found out they'd made a television show about it, a comedy called Here Come The Bride.
Really? It was on TV in the 70s. Yeah. It's a really like isn't isn't this hilarious. Like a little House on the Prairie period. Yeah.
Yeah. It kind of I mean to their credit it's a tragic, tragic comedy. It's like a drama. Sure, sure. Sure. But it's sad but it's that era and they yeah.
It's all about Washington State. It's all about bringing these women to this town. The sort of inciting incident in the pilot is that this man tries to rape this woman. And so then everybody's like and but it's somehow comic and everybody's like, I guess we better get more women because this guy tried to rape the ugly schoolteacher. And so we must not enough women. And then and then the that's how the whole series. Let's feed the monsters. That's the pie.
That's it's really the monsters are going to hurt people if we don't give them, you know, fresh women.
So but like I've always felt like I've spent time in Seattle and Washington and I'm very I find that part of the world compelling and that the climate and everything else and the feel of it.
I lived in Alaska when I was very young and my second wife was from Seattle.
So I have had I've had experience with the but I always felt that there was a darkness there that seems to be. Yes, very deep. It's like I'd like to think it runs prehistory, but but it does seem that that that the type of industry that came up in that area was rough.
Man, it's a weird kind of like pioneering shit.
Yeah. There's a lot of darkness. I actually feel like Twin Peaks beings that they're made perfect sense. Right.
Like history of violence. And of course, the other side of that is like it also, you know, a lot of those women who came over on that boat then ended up being suffragettes and Washington gave women the right to vote for many other states. There was an interesting backfired on them.
It all backfired. Exactly. That's interesting part.
I'm surprised you did. What made you choose not to discuss some of the other avenues that those women took?
Well, there was just so much I actually there's like seven more hours of play that I just had to cut out.
You know, there weren't a lot of other amendments. I mean, you could keep it as long as you could. I actually I did. That was my first very ambitious idea, was that what if I kind of. Could I relate? Once I sort of realized I was taking this personal history, like, could I relate the personal story to every single amendment? And then I realized that would be a, I don't know, a year long play.
And also I would probably die before finishing it.
Yeah, well, I mean, I think the more practical approach would be like, know, is there any way that you could do live events with each amendment in the hat, you know, with these kids, with these teenagers?
Let's just rip it. Let's just have live shots, really put you on your feet with, you know, and just do it for real.
That's a great idea. Yeah. Can I take that idea? Yeah.
OK, I think I just pitched a perfect show for you.
You really think I'll be following up later when you're doing well and that way you could you could get new teenagers to. Exactly. And you can and you could even do it at high schools.
That's a great idea. There you go. I feel like you've just. Thank you. You're welcome. I'm just I'm looking out for you. Got kids now, too. Too expensive.
Oh, this is it for you. It's good. It's just starting. I hear they're cheaper now.
Like, pretty much you just got to put them in a box and feed them. They get expensive. They get expensive later.
This is what happens with college education. I guess this is the budget days right now. This is OK. So when you like.
But growing up there, I mean, I have your immediate family was OK, right?
Yes. I had a great immediate family, like my I have a wonderful father and.
Yes. Both my parents are still alive. They're there in Washington. They have not been able to meet the babies. Right. Because they're in Wenatchee. And so they haven't been able to able to fly because of covid, which is just my mom's going pretty nuts.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's terrible. It's like it's isolated. Everybody now, Wenatchee, where is that exactly in relation to Spokane.
So when Nancy is right between Seattle and Spokane, sort of right. Dead in the middle of the state.
So not quite. So it's not quite white supremacist and not quite. Exactly. You know, you're not in meth supremacist.
So I know, you know, in fact, it's sort of like you're right in the middle.
It's like a tiny little paradise before you visit me or anywhere near where we're twins. Parents are we're twins. Father is, you know, Chris Twisp or what is it?
Twist. Twist. Yes, it is close to Twisp. OK, yeah. It's a very beautiful part of this.
Very pretty, but very far.
Seattle's the nearest big city. And that's what, two hours? Three hours.
It's almost three hours between either of them. Yeah, Spokane is like four hours. It's weird.
I kind of I was in Spokane, you know, even in its like demise. I found it a very charming place.
Is my dad's family's from them. I visited their lot, my my grandparents on that side, also German and Swedish, lived in Spokane. Actually, my great grandma on that side was Bing Crosby's cook. She was a Swedish cook. So you book what a great show business story.
You're connected. You're totally connected. Your grandma needed him. She hated him so much. I hear he wasn't pleasant. I hear he's not a good man. Abusive boozing guy.
He was. Yeah. And she was. So she lived in Hollywood. No. And he lived in Spokane with his family. Bing Crosby did. Yeah. Yeah. No kidding. Yeah. That I had no idea. I thought the only thing that Spokane was famous for were the boots. I'm wearing white boots.
No, it's not it's white, all that Bing Crosby, Bing Crosby, and you're great, what is your grandmother was Swedish.
Yeah, also she was Swedish cook.
So, you know, you knew Elsa when you were a kid? I did, yeah. I used to dress up like her. That was my favorite thing to do, was to borrow her glasses and like her shawl and dress up like an old lady, almost like that.
Did you did you do a character of her just telling horrible Bing Crosby stories?
Was that your first one person show is Elsa. And it's just you doing an hour of what an asshole Bing Crosby was.
She was also the one who knows my other grandmother. She was the one who said she came from Sweden when she was 19. And apparently they'd been passing out these flyers in Sweden, like come to America. It's the promised land. There was a famine.
But, you know, they did that because they wanted these the Scandinavians to come plant the country up there because they couldn't grow anything. So they give them and they knew that the people in Sweden, they're like they can grow things in rocks.
So they wanted them to come. I read this in that book. Ian Frazier wrote The Great Plains, but I'm sorry. Go ahead. Yeah, yeah.
No, no, no. That's right. That makes total sense. Well, then she said when she got here, she was like she would all be like, you know, they said the streets were paved with gold, but really they're paved with shit.
Yeah. She knew to get me back to Sweden. She she didn't go back, man.
I mean I mean, right now I'm just I can't believe they all left and like, what were the what were they.
Well, now they're like, I don't know. I think I think that they're big covid plan is backfiring, but. Yeah, well, that's true.
I just it's some I spent some time there. Have you been there? I've never been.
I actually lived in Russia for two years and I never I still have not visited Sweden. Where did you go?
I don't know. What's the big city? What's the Stockholm? Yes, I did. I did a show there in Stockholm. I saw the ship. I ate some of the food.
You know, it's weird when you only have a couple of days in these countries where you like. I went there. What do you do?
I ate the stuff that you eat at that place.
The dumpling that comes, dumpling, meatball, the dumpling bread, the what's the berry? It's not cranberries. There's a barrel lingonberry lingonberry thing. I ate some of that. Yeah.
And I saw the boat, you know, that Viking boat that was that well raised. But yeah.
But I went there's also you really you make it sound so exciting. It's great.
Great museum there and you can walk along the water. It's very, it's very nice. It's, it's, it's everywhere. It's pleasant.
But here right now, anywhere you go outside the United States, you're like, oh, it's not the main thing here. Like there, you know what I mean? The chaotic fucking you know, they're not currently living in a codependent relationship with a lunatic now.
But that aside, yeah, we there's other fascists around, but some of them are.
But, yes, we we have a particularly special version of that. Yeah.
It's uniquely American. I think you can say it. This is our take. What's the American take on autocrat. It's happening now. Enjoy.
We made him but OK, but that OK, so you're going up there. So that side of the family seems your father's side seems grounded.
And there's a history of hard working Swedish people who came over. And then your mother's side is just the dark lager.
Well, yeah. I mean, yes and no. I think that I mean, that side also was and they were both they're both like half German, half Swedish.
That side was also, you know, really hard working people. And then but but yeah. But growing up in a more that place, according to my research, it was just a more violent place than where my dad's families would not.
You know, this was actually Castle Rock. So more western Washington.
And because that was a stronghold of the logging industry. Exactly. Yes. I think it was just more remote. There were you know, it was as I say in the play, it was mostly men who were there to to log. Right. And it was it was pretty harsh living conditions for quite a while.
For some reason, I'm thinking, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, I'm thinking like, yeah, right.
That totally Bobtown. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But like, her family was amazing, too. I mean, my grandma happened to marry a really bad man, but I mean, part of the working on the play that was one of the myths say there were many sort of things I unlearned while making the play. And one of them was like the myth of. The one bad man, right, where I sort of grew up being like, oh, if only that bad man hadn't come into my life, I thought I was just going to say that.
What is what is that myth?
The myth is that all it takes is one bad man to set a history of repetitive, a legacy of repetitive, abusive relationships.
Yes, that and then I also think that the one bad man is somehow a lone figure, not not part of a larger culture of male violence, divorced from a larger culture of laws that don't protect people from that kind of violence, divorce from centuries of Western law that. Right. That says you can beat up and kill your wife. You know, it was sort of like I really started to see him as a symptom.
And then I think because of the focus of the show, also just some a person. Enabled by laws to to take out his violence on children and take out his violence. You know what I mean?
Like that the law, I think, in some ways continues to enable that and had for centuries.
And that that's the macro. But the micro is still the one bad man.
The micro is still the one that she ended up with. Right. With the. Yeah. The wrong person.
Yeah. And it happens all the time.
I think that a lot of the statistics that you cite and the way you sort of capture in the show, you know, how how does this negligence happen when you kind of share in the show those bits and pieces of those proceedings in past Supreme Courts? You know, we're men. These men are clearly uncomfortable and having arguments over semantics when there's really lives in the balance shows, you know, a strange a disconnect, an empathy.
There's no there's no empathy there. And I think is the point that they can't see how their their policies are making it dangerous, specifically for women and people of color. Right. Right.
Yeah. That was the thing that struck me the most. When I listen, I listen to hundreds of hours of Supreme Court cases, and particularly in the case you're talking about, which has to do with an abusive man. I was just shocked at how disassociated the judges seemed from their own feelings. You can sort of hear it in their voices as they sort of ramble on like, does child mean? I don't know. Sometimes I mean, child listen.
And the meanwhile, at the center of this case is a.
Painful, horrific story that they've just stopped talking about, talking about, yeah, and and I think I think right now, as we're having apparently this national debate over whether the Constitution is a living thing or a dead thing, I feel like.
This idea that. That you could interpret law without putting without keeping the living human beings at the center of your. Argument and keeping them right in your mind and in your heart as you're making these decisions, I think.
Yeah, but I feel like that disconnect goes like that. That disconnect applies to the Senate. It applies to the leadership in power that everybody sort of seems to be insulated in their job and in their bubble and in whatever numbers are fighting for that there these broad ideas around, you know, fiscal support and fiscal responsibility that that really come down to numbers without really having stories attached to them.
And but that case, that was just insanity, that it's really about a woman who had a restraining order on her husband, who then took the kids, killed them, and she wanted recourse, you know, for that the police not, you know, defending or prosecuting the restraining order.
And and that argument that you have from the Supreme Court is about whether there was a constitutional responsibility on behalf of the police department to protect that woman and her children.
And they decided no.
Yes, that was the decision. And that's fucking nuts. It's I agree. I 100 percent agree that it's fucking not.
But that that that was the issue of originalism. Right. And intent. So that.
Yes, you know, the way you sort of flush out the the kind of negative rights, positive rights and all that stuff, I wouldn't have known any of that. And I could have went to my grave not knowing that, you know, and now I know it and, you know, and I find it.
I think that, like, when you're my age and you learn these things, you're sort of like, oh, wow, that well, that really changes everything in a way, I think or understand things.
But I think more importantly, the show may sort of instigate younger people to realize, like, I got to get involved with this shit.
Yeah, I mean, I hope so. It certainly made me feel that way. Like I even the grown ups on the show have all become more politically active just because because of the things we all learned while making the show. I and I knew nothing about positive rights are negative rights. I honestly only learned about that because of that case. I listen to that case so many times and I was like, I don't understand. This makes zero sense to me.
She went to the police, you know, like 14 times in one night and said, my husband has my children. Will you please go look for them? And they were like, go home, lady, you're being dumb, you know? And and the fact that she could not sue that police department is I just couldn't fathom how our laws work. So I actually that's of I asked a friend who knew a constitutional scholar to hook me up, and I said, can I just please take you out to dinner?
And can you just explain to me? And it was a very long dinner because it's very confusing.
But that's when I first learned about positive rights and negative types of institutions and the two types of constitutional rights. And, you know, and that's when I learned that, that all modern constitutions, ours is the oldest one still in use. It's really an antique. Most of the constitutions were made after the 20th century and they all contain positive rights, which are like affirmative rights and say the government has to. Right. Protect you. It it it has to provide basic things like health care and a certain standard of living.
It has to protect people.
And, you know, it has to protect minorities, like it has gender protections and it has racial protections, ability, protections. And a lot of them contain clauses that protect that say that you have a right to clean air and water, that you have a right, that it's the government's duty to look after the environment. And I was just sort of gobsmacked. I had no idea.
And it's interesting that, like, you know, even knowing that all that stuff is proactive and good, that this country seems to be wrestling with the ideas, like we can bend our old document, we will, you know, instead of, like, evolving that, why not just bend this society back to the seventeen hundreds. Right.
Without taking into consideration that most of the government has been turned out by corporate pimping and that, you know, all you're going to end up with if you do that explicitly is fascism.
Yeah, that's really what's going on.
Now I agree with you and there's enough dumb dumbs to be like but what about liberty? Oh, shut the fuck up.
I'm sorry. There's a no, no, I yeah. I feel like the notion of liberty has really gotten twisted, that's for sure.
Yeah. Yeah. It's like we have a right to spread plague the right.
Don't tell us what to do. You're not you're not the boss of me. Whereas a positive rights constitution be like we are kind of the boss of you and it's public health. So yeah.
Or you know, we. I think I feel like when I think of that kind of constitution, I think of the idea that I feel like the statement is making is that we're all responsible to one another.
I know you would think that people could get would get the hang of that. But see, like the nature of capitalism in the free market has twisted everything up and mind fucked so many people. It's all very calculated on some level, right?
Yeah. Yes, it is. I think people have lost their way. And that's and that's reinforced by by the representatives of malignant business interest.
But I think we're getting away from, you know, why why you went to Siberia and how you did so well.
But I think what's interesting to me, when I was thinking about how this evolved for you is that, you know, this was not, you know, what you set out to do. You set out to be an actor. Yes.
And you have this. And a writer, right? Yes. Yeah.
And this sort of evolved because, I mean, you've been working at it, like, when did you start? You started acting in Seattle.
I started to act, yes, I actually started acting when I was a kid, my mom had a Shakespeare company for kids called the Short Shakespeare. Really? Yes, it still exists, actually. They still they there still she handed it over to an amazing woman. And it's been going now for almost 40 years.
Children's Theater's great. Yeah. Yeah. So I got to play. I got she of course cast me and all the lead roles, so I got to play all the great Shakespearean heroines between the ages of six and 12.
I really cut my teeth the best.
That's some heavy shit. Yeah.
Actually we only did the comedies. We didn't do Macbeth or anything. You can do Lear. I'd like to see a six year old.
I would actually like to see some six year old kid with a beard and we're doing that last monologue would probably be quite moving.
Actually, it would be really, really good idea. You getting a lot of excellent Irun with them that the run with them.
Yeah, I'm going to I got to earn the money. Yeah. So that was I did that as a kid and then I acted in college and then yes. When I took a little detour I spent a couple of years in Russia.
What is that. What is that. Where. Who does that. Who does.
So what are you you're in college for what I, I double majored English in theater with a minor in Russian language because I really like you know, I was a I loved Dostoyevsky.
It was my favorite. And I want to be able to read it in Russian.
I did want to be able to read in Russian and I thought was beautiful language as it kind of grew up obsessed with Russian dancers, particularly Baryshnikov sure was a big, big crush. So you had a plan.
So I had to meet in Russia.
I still haven't met him, although I've met now his daughter, who's wonderful actress.
I've actually never confessed to her. My I'm sure she knows all the women my age. Right. Had huge crushes on her father, but I've never talked to her about it. Misha right on. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I watched the turning point over and over.
But you were but also Russian has, you know, a long history of theater and film and have made, you know, despite whatever horrors they were responsible for governmentally, they they definitely changed theater and they changed film and they changed.
There's definitely a totalitarian work ethic, I guess, that really delivers the goods.
There's, I think the work ethic. I also think, you know, the spirit of creating art and in the face of.
Right. Probably all of that horror, you know. Sure.
But yeah, obviously the they changed. I mean, they invented acting as we know it. Yeah, I, I loved living there. I lived in Siberia for a year, a little tiny town called Tynda, and then I moved to St Petersburg.
Do you love Siberia? I feel like, you know, you don't see that bumper sticker a lot, but I heart Siberia.
What you what was it like it. It was so. Unbelievably beautiful. I can't I I lived in this place called Tin on this river called was there's this amazing lake called Baycol, which is like the largest it's like a lake. That's like an ocean, which is one of the most incredible places on Earth. And then I lived on this Moore River. And when I first got there, everything was covered in snow and ice. And then spring came and everything melted.
And it was it was just like the. Birch trees and the river and the like miles of stuff, I guess you call it, it was it was one of the most physically beautiful places I've ever been.
And how's your Russian? It's it's it's OK. So my brother followed me there, and he was a journalist in Moscow for 10 years. And now he lives in Prague with his family and his wife was Russian. And so my niece and nephew speak Russian. And they I thought my Russian was still really good, but they just mock me mercilessly. When I try to speak, they imitate my accent. And so I guess it's not how many siblings you have.
I just I just my brother, younger brother.
And so then you go to St. Petersburg and you were there total for two years in Russia. Yeah. Wow.
So I actually fell in love with someone in Siberia and we moved to St. Petersburg together and I got a job at a newspaper.
And you were what you were like what. Twenty, nineteen, twenty three. You fell in love with the Russian. Twenty three. Twenty four. I did, yeah. What happened to that guy.
He, he this is sound like fiction but he's a Russian Orthodox priest.
You're going you did.
You know he has a very long beard. Really. Yeah he he.
Yeah he was a really.
He is talk about him in the past tense is a really brilliant guy very into honestly like occult things.
And then somehow that shifted into an interest in religion, which of course had been banned for so long while he was growing up. And he just became more and more fascinated with religion while we were dating. And then several years after we broke up, he decided.
So you you dated a Russian witch who found that just, you know, piecemeal interest in occult ritual was not working out.
And there was a much deeper, more historical type of magic that seems to be more reliable. But you get to and you get to dress as a wizard.
You've really you've summed it up good, I'm glad I'm glad he's found his wizard ship. Are you in touch? No.
Several years ago we had a Facebook friend with me and then we corresponded a little bit and then he disappeared from Facebook.
Oh, I wonder what happened. Yeah, I'm not sure. OK, it's so weird because rarely does anything coming out of Russia disappear from Facebook. It seems to just.
Yeah. It's probably there somewhere over Facebook. Yeah.
OK, so you come back here and then you decide to commit to acting.
Is that what happens? Yeah. When I came back, I came back to Seattle because that's near my hometown and a lot of friends from college had moved to Seattle. Hold on one second.
Were you studying acting in Russia or. No? No, not at all. Although I did. I know. But I did work. I went to the theater all the time and I worked as a theater reviewer for a little bit.
So, yeah, but I was not studying, you know, John Bernthal, the actor. Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's how he learned to act in Russia. Oh, he did.
Was it was it true that Harvard program. Yeah. Or did he. Yeah. Yeah. Know that program sounds incredible.
I wish I had the only problem was like he got back when he got back he was like, you know, like, you know, you guys don't know how to act Harvard out of there. But he comes back and he was just sort of like, yeah, a bunch of weenies. You don't know what real men do when they act like.
I guess I get that.
I mean, you really you go you also they you know, they get to rehearse their plays for seven months before they go on stage where because of capitalism, we get the three and a half weeks know. Yeah, it's make or break, throw you on to the stage and see what happens three and a half months and then maybe a week.
Yeah. If you if things don't go right. Did you ever study Suzuki? I did, yeah, I'm so wild that I fucking knew that man, you know how I how did you know that? No, I do know you.
I know how I knew, OK, how you act out your crying and when you hold your core to find your center. When you put your hand on your stomach, wow.
And then the way you started when you were doing the crying about she did Suzuki, there's no way that woman didn't do Suzuki because I had my my my an ex-wife of mine studied it and I was able to see it.
You know, I was able to go and watch it being done. And I'm like, that's that's got to be where she got that.
I feel so exposed.
I get how many people are like that Suzuki lady, that lady Suzuki.
That's so wild. I'm so happy that I was right. Yeah, that's really kind of took me off guard there. That's what I was like. Did he do some kind of deep dive? But there's no there's no record of me doing so. No, I could scrub the Internet clean of all of that.
I saw I saw it in practice, apparently.
Was this your wife from Seattle? No.
This is there is a lot of you know, was my my my first wife went on to become a therapist, but but she was studying to be an actress and she was kind of dug in with that. I mean, she was doing the Suzuki training and I never quite got it, you know, but when over time, you know, she explained it to me. And then I went to see them, you know, where they, you know, let the family and friends come in to to watch a performance, you know, reassure you it's not a cult or something too fucking weird.
And, you know, you just it's not it's not convincing. Right. You know? Yeah. It's like I got it.
You know what I mean? I understood the technique, but it is sort of rare and it's specific and I don't think a lot of people know about it.
Right, right, do you study it in New York? No, actually, in Seattle, there were a couple of amazing teachers at University of Washington that I studied with first in high school, actually. And then and then.
But I thought it was interesting how effective it is because, like, you know, whatever you've however, you've trained yourself as an actress, you know, everybody takes a bit from here and there.
But I was so clearly able to lock in to those two actions which were fairly, you know, intense and emotional and and powerful, both the the way you cry, as if the acting that out, but also that just the other divisive centering, you know, in moments of emotion where I see you do it, you kind of align yourself in that.
So it is a powerful method. It's interesting because I was working on the play, these two books were really important to me and one of them is called Trauma and Recovery, and the other is the Body Keeps the Score, which is a book all about how trauma lives in your body and also inherited trauma lives in your body.
And so I think that kind of idea. Was with me the whole time I was rehearsing the play of thinking, the I do talk about at one point in the play, like the the places in the play where my throat, I could feel it tense up. I was actually pretty tense the whole time I was performing and kind of trying to figure out where that came from and why. And yeah, I just thinking about it kind of in a way thinking about the play is a little bit of an exorcism of some of that stuff out of my body.
Yeah. Right. Yeah.
Right. And like and I think that like from my recollection of Suzuki, that seems to be a very decent method to exercise.
Yes, I think that's right. But yeah, it's very physical. And there's a way of releasing. Yeah, there's a lot of grunting something. Right.
But but that's interesting with those two books. Again, one is called Trauma and recovery.
The other is the body keeps the score. Trauma and recovery is, I think, one of the most brilliant.
I guess psychoanalytic texts, it was actually recommended to me by my husband's therapist via my husband. Yeah. Many, many years ago.
But one of the things that talks about is it actually makes the connection between this therapist worked a lot, both with military veterans who were grappling with PTSD and with sexual assault survivors. Right. And she noticed the similarities between the two kinds of symptoms and what what both groups were going through and sort of made a larger connection through that about violence in our culture and the way it affects both people who go to war on behalf of the country and the victims of violence and sexual assault in the country, which are often women.
And she yeah, she delves into that.
That's interesting in a really profound way.
And then that sort of combined with the idea of hereditary behavioral, like like I think it was interesting in the show how you don't find it necessary to define why the darkness is in you, that, you know, is it or is it a legacy of abuse that goes back generations that causes this depression, or is it chemical?
And does it matter?
Right. You know, it is what it is ultimately to have the framework to think about that, to think about, because that's fascinating.
There's no way it isn't true that even if you break the cycle of abuse, the emotional nature that is underpinning to somebody who is willing to put up with that or is an abuser is still going to be in you. You just you know, you just evolve to make different choices on purpose, right?
You have to make different choices. I will also say you have different I mean, I question a little bit the phrase like someone who's willing to put up with it, because I feel like I mean, this is one of the things that I discovered making the play is like I I in part able to make many different choices of my grandmother because, like, the legal framework of my life is much different than hers. I have different laws protecting me.
Yeah. And also like the cultural. The culture has evolved, thank God.
But don't underestimate the power of terror.
It was my mistake. Right. To privacy. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, I just I but I think yeah. I'm only calling it out because I feel like it's when I grew up thinking like, oh what, what was wrong with my grandmother that she stayed in this relationship.
And now I understand the I understand it in a much I have a much larger perspective. I understand it as it relates to the laws of our country, as it relates to our culture, as it relates to the misogyny in our culture. And then, of course, it's just true for many women today.
And I because of the play, I've also I've been able to talk to a lot of people who've.
Who've been in relationships like this now and really understanding that you. You can think that you're a person who would never end up in this kind of relationship and and discover that you're absolutely wrong and that it's not it doesn't always have to do with there being something. It's not always about you, you know, abuses are often incredibly charming people who don't. I know that true nature until you're you're very much connected to that. Right.
Right and right. I mean, like, I think that when I was younger, I was emotionally abusive person, you know, and I.
You do. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I you know, it took me, you know, a lot of heartbreak and, you know, willingness to figure out where that comes from, you know, where that fear ultimately and that kind of inability to connect emotionally in an appropriate way comes from, you know, and it is family stuff.
But yet over time, you know, not unlike recovery from alcohol and drugs, you know, you learn to make different choices and you start to see, you know, if you're willing who you are, you know, in that dynamic and what that what that is, you know.
And how do you I mean, you don't have to say what it was, but is there a. I guess, like, how old were you when you sort of started to realize that and did something push you toward that realization?
Well, I mean, I was really just defensive kind of Reiji guy who always thought, you know, you know, he was being fucked with or manipulated, was not able to trust love or wasn't really capable of of letting myself give it in a way, you know, it was all kind of childish stuff. But, you know, childish rage when you're 35 is a very ugly thing. Right. Right. And I think ultimately the beginning of the education was, you know, once I got sober and I entered into a relationship with a woman who helped me get sober in a state that was already volatile, you know, I you know, I made her miserable and, you know, and I was emotionally destructive.
And she had to, you know, like, extricate herself from me.
Right. You know, right through on and through understanding co-dependency and me understanding all these whatever the labels are, it was like that was the beginning of the awakening, but it took a while to sort of reel it in.
It's sort of about like deciding to kind of reckon with yourself. Right. Well, you got to decide as opposed to keep repeating it. Right. You know, you got you because people are broken from a fairly young age, you know, and you know, and it's like, you know, either you're going to be able to fucking stop it or not. But like, usually I think these injuries that create these monsters are put upon people when they're fucking children.
Oh, yeah. And then, you know, the wiring is there and, you know, and if you keep honoring the wiring and finding participants to honor that wiring with you, there's not much impetus to change until you, you know, end up alone or crying or in jail or whatever the fuck range of rage you're on.
You know, I think the hardest thing for me is and I've been in therapy for almost 15 years now, that I also like realizing that just knowing that isn't enough.
No, there's a point when you're like, oh, I see. This is all you know, this is this wiring that, like you, as you call it, that that was sort of installed when I was pre language, probably like it is not being checked.
And so and I don't I don't even know sometimes that that's what's happening. And now I see it and I understand that, like, I'm being driven by these things that were planted so long ago and that should be enough. And then realizing, oh, my God, that's not that's just like the very beginning.
I'm starting to, like, change some of that. Right.
Habitual because you have to make you have to choose against your instincts, which are faulty. So. Right. So it's very unsatisfying. The the cure is making different choices for yourself. And they don't feel great because now, you know, they're not honoring, you know, how you get fed emotionally.
Right. Right. Right. So everything feels a little flat. Yeah.
Everything. Yeah. Yeah. Or like you're starving, right. Like you're emotionally starved. Right. I have to like get you to endure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Where's the drama.
It's on the stage now. Good for you. Congratulations. But no but I mean you talk about that and I feel bad that I kind of you know, I mean, you know, correcting language is important in the sense that you me saying someone who's willing to put up with it.
It is it is not, you know, taking into consideration what abuse does to people and what fear does to people and what, you know, you know, honoring, you know, that victimised does to people in terms of they might not see a way out for themselves.
And and the fact that they might be right. I mean, that was one of the discoveries for me to. Actually, when I listen to Jessica's case, to the case we talked about earlier and learned the statistic that like the most dangerous moment for a woman in that situation, living with an abusive partner or a person living with an abusive partner is the moment that they decide to leave. That's just statistically when they're most likely to be harmed or killed.
So there's also a kind of. Unassailable logic at work, which is like I'm actually in a position and there's no there's no good answer, like I stay and I'm in danger, I leave it, I'm in danger. So I was just realizing the enormous stakes of making a decision to leave someone. I mean, obviously, that there are this is a spectrum right there. You know, there's leaving an emotionally abusive partner and then there's leaving a physically abusive partner.
But, yeah, just sort of realizing, like all of this, all of the factors that are in play that make it about so much more than, like whether someone's willing to leave or. Right.
And, you know, and like obviously all of this is discussed in relation to your family, in relation to this case and in relation to what type of protections the Constitution provides for us.
But like, I don't want this, like I feel like we're talking about this and people can be like, God, I'm not going to see this show, this guy, holy shit, I can barely get through this conversation. But but I just want to make sure there's a lot of levity.
There's a lot of fun in the show. There's comedy. There's, you know, there's provocative things. And you you bring a high school student up to debate with you on whether to abolish the Constitution or keep the Constitution. What are the benefits of keeping it? Because there are people that are protected that would be harmed if you abolish it in the interim of creating the new one. Like it's all very fine and good and exciting. There's a gay man on stage that comes out and talks.
You know, there's no there's something for everybody.
There is something for everybody. And I hope and it is also very funny. I mean, I really thought it was going to be a comedy when I started. Like I said, if I just like the eighties permed hair and the the fun 15 year old girl. And I thought it would be like a cheeky comedy or something.
And I think that spirit remained I think structurally it's not it's not a tragedy.
It's not a drama. I mean, no, you know, the arc is you start where you start, you move through, you know, sort of the the impetus for the conversation. Then you end up kind of like United with a 14 year old talking about, you know, mundane things in a way.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And she's fantastic and also hilarious.
I don't I don't I don't I don't think I saw it with the one who was in the special. Did I? I think I saw that the other night.
So both you can actually see. So Rosselli, who originated the part, is in the film. And then you can also see Thursday, Williams, who performed with us and did a workshop and on Broadway, who's really a killer debater, terrifying. Like when she showed up in the room, she came in to audition and said she just got done debating at NYU Law School and she'd been in the Sonia Sotomayor Institute. And she explained strict scrutiny to us.
And we were like, oh, no, this girl is like the smartest guy you've ever met. And she she really up to the the debate got a lot better when she joined our team. And so you can see her debate to X at the end there. Yeah. Yeah. At the end. And then you can click on another OK. Like special material and you can see you see me debate to abolish the Constitution and Thursday debate to keep it.
OK, great. Yeah. Yeah.
I think like my inability to debate speaks to like my emotional sensitivity and immaturity and slight propensity for abusiveness because within two turns of a bit of a debate, I'm like, go fuck yourself, you know, with the fucker, who the fuck are you?
Who are you?
Yeah. Yeah. That's not that's not the point. You won't win the debate that way. Yeah, I know.
It's it's ultimately childish business. I've been doing MDR a bit, you know that.
Oh I, my mom has been doing that. She says it's fantastic. Ohashi Oh good. Yeah. Around her childhood trauma. Yeah. She's found it really helpful.
It's good if you have, you know, real incidents, you know, like it's different for me. It's like the childhood stuff.
I've done a little bit on that, but it's sort of broad, like it's emotional neglect, inconsistency and chaos, you know, but but like just working it around, like lately I've been doing it around that last week of Lynn's life when she was sick in the house, you know, here not knowing that she was dying and, you know, treating it as like a flu or something. And then, you know, eventually, you know, on the day that she was supposed to go to the doctor, you know, she collapses and that was the end of it.
So, like, you know, the feelings around that are so specific. And so I've been doing it around that. And it is helping me, I think, integrate it, you know, so I can just, you know, live with the loss, you know, but but I think it's very effective for that kind of stuff if you have a point of entry.
Yeah. Yeah. But I think that makes. A lot of sudden, I. I. I actually my mom taught me this thing, which I don't, which is called it's sort of silly, but it's called the butterfly hug, where you put your you cross your arms like this on your chest and do this. Oh, yeah. And and I, I have actually found it somewhat helpful.
But you are not like something when you were a kid or is it a new thing. No, no, it's a new thing.
It may be related to her MDR thing like I can with the MDR. I'm not sure, but it's like somehow kind of ground you I think. Oh yeah. Yeah. You go like this. Yeah. And it kind of. Wow.
That's interesting. Yeah. Because the MDR I do is not with the right thing, with the moving eye movement. It's like these buzzer's that you hold.
There's a couple of little machines and I'm not exactly sure that I understand the magic of it, but it seems to do something. The process does something.
So when before you did this show, you worked with Annie Baker, though, right, on a big thing? Yeah, we've done.
I was in her play, Circle Mirror Transformation, which was sort of her first big breakout play in New York in twenty nine.
She actually wrote a part specifically for me, which was a great honor.
I actually at the time I met her, she was like a twenty five year old kid who came up to me at a theater and said she had her beautiful long hair and her little converse. And she said she introduced herself and said she was writing a part for me. And I was like, OK, yeah, thank you.
That's very sweet. Thank you, little girl. Cute. Yeah.
And then of course, it turned out to be this bona fide genius. And I think I like her stuff a lot. I know I love that episode. I listen to that episode and then we work together. I mean, we're we're good friends, but we also work together. And I love Dick. We wrote an episode of that show together called A Short History of Weird Girls, which was is still one of my favorite things I've ever written.
And working with her was really I was in and out of that series.
I should go watch it. Yeah. Short story of girls, a short history of weird girls.
All right. How's Annie doing?
She's great. She has she has a new not as new as mine, but she has a beautiful daughter. I get yeah. I get to we live fairly close to each other so I get to see her.
Oh that's great. Yeah. You theater people. Yeah. Sticking together.
We do stick together and I have to like I remember vaguely I think I remember maybe I just read it but you, you won an award for your performance or that play. Want to know the award.
Yes. Yeah. That yes. I want to know. We award for the performance and then the play won. That was your second one. Yes, I won a few years earlier. I had done a play called the The Drum of the Waves of Horikawa, which is a seventeenth century Japanese play by this guy Chickamaw to I had done downtown.
It was your Suzuki in it. There was there was actually no Suzuki and it issued Suzuki for that, for that production outside of Suzuki.
What was the primary, your other primary training as an actress?
I, I mean, I didn't actually I mean, I, I took acting all through college because I majored in theater.
And then when I lived in Seattle, I studied there was a great Russian teacher there, Leonid Anisimov, who came and taught for almost six months in Seattle, taught Stanislavski and sort of claimed I think it's probably true. Stanislavski's later writings were not translated.
So Stanislavski, who founded the modern acting, apparently he had this whole new way of teaching at the end of his life that that that Leonid was supposedly teaching. And it was a really beautiful method. And then I studied with this other Russian guy, Kanani.
So he had the untranslated writings. He knew, apparently. Right, Joe Smith in the place, apparently.
Yeah. Yeah, got it. I mean, who knows if he has them or not?
I mean, there's so much law in Russia, you know, there's so many things that why you have to believe that's around.
Yeah. Yeah. And then I studied also this kind of Meyerhold technique with another Russian teacher who came to Seattle. And then and then the rest of it, I kind of hold Meyerhold.
What what does that Meyerhold, who was also a famous famous Russian actor and activist on Klasky and had another kind of message that was a more physical method of acting that he he developed.
It's interesting that you seem to you've got you bypass the whole Americanization and legend of, you know, method bullshit. Somehow managed to tap right into direct descendants of the source material in Seattle.
You didn't have to go through that whole fucking ego cluster fuck of the Strausberg when Hand Minstrel's know Meisner and they're fucking people. You were like, nice guy.
I never took a Meisner class. Yeah, apparently I got the direct. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, but again, the shading, the claim, pure stuff.
I allegedly got the one generation removed but you know, it was close.
It wasn't like some like, you know, second generation Jewish guy that came up through the Lower East Side and decided that he was an acting wizard.
Good. Not that I have anything against them.
No, I know were they were great. I think they were great. Those Americans. Yes. They're just all great people. I just I'm just for the beans sometimes.
And I just I like throwing people under the bus for a second.
No, they shouldn't be thrown under the bus. I say about my Russian acting teacher, I think he was the real deal. But who knows? Everybody is just making shit up and pretending like they're the extra. I don't know if you in most of the expert, but I like them. And I do feel like I, I still I still have my notebook from that class that I refer to it a lot.
That's good. Yeah. You got, you know, a craft in place. And how many plays have you written outside of what the constitution.
Um. Probably I've had four produced in New York and there's probably 12 there, some of which I did in Seattle and some that have never been produced.
OK, I want to then one last question like. Are you bummed you didn't win the Pulitzer because that must have been a hell of a day. I mean, you got to be a little bummed. I mean, it's like you're so close to somebody.
Somebody wrote it. I've been getting a lot of hateful comments because I call the Constitution a living document in this ad. So on Facebook, the liberty people.
Yeah, a lot of a lot of conservative and and people who consider themselves originalists, I guess, have been just calling me like a moron and a communist and all these things. And someone really wrote a long thread about how I lost the Pulitzer.
And that should disqualify me from speaking about anything. It's amazing the research these fucking monsters will do, like they could be putting their, you know, their anal, weird compulsive behavior to such good use.
But it's like, no, let's teach the lady on television a lesson. Yeah, yeah.
The person compared it to the Titanic saying like, well, you don't, like, congratulate the captain of the Titanic because the Titanic went down. I guess my Pulitzer nomination is like that because I didn't win. Yeah. I mean, of course I wish I had won. It would be really fucking awesome to say I was a Pulitzer winner. But the woman who won, Jackie Drury, is Jackie Sibley's jury just mispronounced. She's I mean, I couldn't lose to a more brilliant person.
And that makes it a little easier. I think if I had lost to somebody I didn't respect so deeply, I don't know.
And it's great that you were recognized and all that. It's like it's so unnerving that people how people focus on, you know, one thing to attack an entire lifetime of work without taking into consideration or even knowing what people really do. It's such a gross element of our current culture. But but I love the work. And it was great talking to you. Nice seeing you again.
Nice seeing you, too. Thanks for having me on it. Really, truly a pleasure. I'm a big fan of your show and it was exciting to get to do this.
I'm excited for you and I'm excited and I thought it was exciting. Got some good laughs. You're good. Laughter That makes me happy.
Hey, say hi to Annie Baker for me. I will. All right. Take it easy.
Bye bye. OK, as I said before, what the Constitution means to me is now streaming on Amazon Prime and don't forget, what do you think it would be like if you found yourself looking for a do over a fresh start? Imagine if your future, your security, your family, your livelihood depended on it, the opportunity to not just do good work, but to get back to work. Dave's killer Bread believes your past shouldn't be what holds you back.
That's why Dave's killer Bread believes in second chance employment. It's the purpose behind every loaf they make. Learn more at Dave's killer bread dotcom slash second chances. No music today. I'm not at home. Boomer lives. LaFonta lives. Monkey lives. I'm just hoping for. OK, that's it.