Young Jean Lee

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Young Jean Lee is a playwright and director. She has directed her plays at Soho Rep (The Appeal) and the Ontological-Hysteric Theater (Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals). She has worked with Radiohole (None of It) and performed with the National Theater of the United States of America (What’s That On My Head!?!). She is a member of 13P, a resident artist at HERE, and studied playwriting with Mac Wellman at Brooklyn College.

1. Why did you call your new play Pullman, WA?

Pullman, WA is the town where I grew up, which I hated so much that the name alone has a kind of voodoo-like power over me. I knew I wanted to make a show called Pullman, WA over a year before I had any idea what it was going to be about.

2. You’ve worked with adventurous theater groups such as Radiohole and National Theater of the United States of America and studied with playwright Mac Wellman. How has your work been informed
by those collaborations?

These are the people I first learned how to make theater from – before I met them I’d had no experience with theater whatsoever. I think one thing they all have in common is that their work is built around a strong sense of play. At its best, watching a Radiohole or NTUSA rehearsal is like watching a bunch of really serious kids playing some ridiculous but complicated game they’ve made up for themselves. And Mac’s writing is like some kid entertaining himself weirdly in a corner. These are the only models of making theater that I know.

3. What person or group, current or historical, would you love to work with?

Andy Kaufman.

4. What is your worst habit?

Wanting to kill myself whenever I get upset.

5. After Pullman, WA what’s next?

I’ve always been scared of Korean movies because they’re completely fucked up in a way that I don’t understand at all. I remember this one movie about two housewives who lived in the same apartment building, which I was totally confused by, and at the end one of them ATE the other one for no apparent reason. I was so disturbed by this I almost cried, but at the same time I found it really exciting. So I’m going to watch a ton of these movies until the weirdness gets absorbed in me and I can make a show that freaks out other people in a similar way.

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