Growing up as I did, I came to love hiding, or at least to need it. My parents, who are inspiring and complex, didn’t much want to be parents and put drinking at the center of things. I felt invisible, unheard; wanted to be seen and heard; was afraid of losing safety if seen and heard. So my root image of self is in the energetic deadlock of hiding, waiting to be found. This permeates the language in my plays, which hides, and longs to be decoded, or otherwise pursued and understood. It is evasive, wanting to be both penetrable and impenetrable (once found, I’ll no longer be myself). This fear/craving is real and specific. It’s a very fundamental weakness.
Hoping that a weakness can be modified for use, the inchoate language, when it works (dramatically) invites the audience outside of reason into a shadow space outside of articulation that we can both share – the play and the audience are waiting – about to discover each other. When the language doesn’t work it’s just mud. I am so bound up in the structure of the language (it isn’t style in the sense of something I can control; it is who and how I am), that I can’t very often tell when the language is difficult in an interesting way or in a foul way.
This is why I love rehearsal, and need a family of collaborators. In listening, especially, listening to what’s out-loud, I am best able to test for cant.