Adam Szymkowicz Talks About PRETTY THEFT

Could you talk a bit about your inspiration behind the show? 

It started in a class I took with Chuck Mee in which we were supposed to all steal the dialogue from each other's scenes to write plays about Joseph Cornell.  I didn't really write about Cornell although there is a character named Joe and the name Allegra came from the dancer Allegra Kent who was a friend of Cornell.  I didn't end up stealing any scenes but I wrote about stealing instead.

This show isn't produced as often as some of your other work, what do you think distinguishes it from the rest of your plays? 

It's produced more than some and less than others.  Weirdly, these last couple months, a lot of scripts of the play have been purchased.  Like a lot more than when it came out five or so years ago.  I think it would be done more if there weren't ballerinas.  And if I didn't use the f word so much.  People are intimidated by ballerinas and cursing.

Why did you decide to make Joe an autistic character? Do you have a particular interest in neurological conditions?

That's just who he was.  Very loosely based on someone I once worked with whose speech patterns I stole.  But to answer your question, yes, I find people fascinating.

From Adam's Notes About The Play:

In 2004, I took a class with Chuck Mee at the Flea. He was writing what would become Hotel Cassiopeia about the life of artist Joseph Cornell. Cornell is probably most famous for his boxes—dioramas created from collages of found objects. He lived his whole life in the house he grew up in and probably died a virgin. He also had many friendships with ballerinas and sometimes gave his art to them as gifts. In Chuck Mee’s class we were supposed to all write our own play about Joseph Cornell and in the spirit of Mee, we were all supposed to steal from one another. Every scene everyone brought in was on the table to potentially become part of our own pieces. I did not end up writing a play about Joseph Cornell but instead wrote a play about an autistic guy named Joe who is obsessed with ballerinas and likes to collect things in a box. 

Pretty Theft runs Nov. 5th, 6th, 12th & 13th at The C.O.W.
Get your tickets here.