My love affair with Jen Huszca’s work is no secret. She’s been an ONSTAGE playwright with Little Black Dress INK six years in a row, and every time I do anything even remotely theatrical, I ask her to participate. Sure, we already had one fabulous LA playwright on the project – but with the city itself being so incredibly large, eclectic, and an entertainment hub for our nation (and the world), couldn’t we have a second fabulous LA playwright on board?
And as soon as I wondered that aloud to myself, I knew the answer was “Go for it!” because Jen and Diana are writing from such different parts of LA, different backgrounds, and different experiences… and I know each one will provide a powerful view from their own perspectives that will draw us in and leave us with something worth chewing over.
So lets talk a little more about Jen… she’s a super talented, wildly imaginative writer/artist who has gone on several walking pilgrimages (and written about them), who rides the bus (which means she spends a LOT of time commuting), who spends too much time worrying about affordable housing in one of the most expensive cities in the US, and who brings a unique theatrical perspective to everything she creates. Jen works in a style of writing that is visceral, pensive, and unapologetically direct.
Yeah, I think it’s appropriate that she’s been offered a seat at this table.
And thank goodness, too. Because whatever issues Jen decides to tackle, her work will most definitely suck you in (maybe punch you in the proverbial gut) and leave you thinking very deeply about the subject she’s cutting open on the theatrical table before you.
Why did you decide to participate in Heal the Divide?
Tiffany asked me. I wish I had a more intellectual answer, but my main reason for participating is friendship. I also like the positivity of the project and its focus on empathy.
What areas of concern do you find yourself curious about or interested in for this project?
The news cycle changes so quickly these days that I can not predict what I will be interested in a month from now. It is fascinating how reactionary Americans on both sides of the political divide can be. Sometimes words just pop out at me. For example, elitism. Also, I have always been interested in both the wildness and fragility of the natural world.
Artists making a difference. What do you think we can (or should) do? Are there pitfalls we need to avoid?
I think advocacy and how much an artist makes a difference is up to the individual artist.
What questions as a playwright are you drawn to explore in your work?
What does it mean to be a human or other animal living on the earth? If I say anymore, I will blow my hand, and I like to keep my cards close to my chest.
More about Jen:
Jen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles. Five of Jen’s plays (Rinse, POP, Flowers, This, and Big Belly) were performed in Little Black Dress INK’s first five Women Onstage festivals. Big Belly and This were also read at Theatre N16’s Herstory Festivals in Balham, UK. Her short play, It Has to End in Tears, was produced by Greenlight Productions in Santa Monica in March 2015. Four of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood. BFA in Dramatic Writing and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing both from NYU.
You can follow Jen on Twitter @playwrightjen