I knew that I loved theater for the connection in the room, but I was envious of other forms. Having gone through this whole experience, I’m struck again by how much I can learn from and learn with an audience. . . . My work is manifested in the room. It happens to the audience without scripting, so the story doesn’t even exist until the audience is there with me and we make it together. . . . I never fully appreciated the value of that connection until being fully immersed in mass media over this last year.
Do you think the process of objectification that you described applies to any sort of mass media figure? I don’t feel terribly objectified on the stage. . . . compared to the feeling of having my entire life’s work summated in a sentence, or to be condemned as a fraud by people who never knew what I did anyway before and have no sense of what you do now.
Documentary theater seems to be gaining traction. What do you think that’s about? Do you think it has anything to do with you? I heard the term “documentary theater” once or twice before the scandal, but to be perfectly honest, I only really started hearing the term after people were concerned that I had ruined it.
What do these labels mean to you? I’m not a big believer in will. I mostly believe in the subconscious. I am a theater person. I grew up in the theater, I started doing theater at a very young age, so in terms of live performance, that’s my natural thing. Before I found monologues, I was a traditional actor. . . . If things had gone a different way and I had never found the theater, I might have become a very good standup comic.
I am finding we are starting to change. The scandal might have been part of this, but for the first time, we’re starting to leave the theater more. I’m doing this series at the Public Theater [in New York] where I do a new monologue each month. . . . There are parts of me that are closer to being a journalist, and this is a little like having to turn in a long article to Harper’s every month or two.
These projects then become something I work on the next year. There are so many things that I would like to talk about that I’m finally getting the chance to. That’s where Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand came from. I’d been wanting to something about Ayn Rand forever, and now there’s an outlet. I’m working in front of an audience at cabaret tables, so it’s a little closer to jazz or a standup format. While I love the theater, I feel like there’s something that’s happened in the last year or two that I feel like I want to move beyond the theater and have it as a base, and then be reaching out to the culture.
No one was ever talking about my work as documentary theater before the scandal, because it’s so self-evident that I’m actually a storyteller. There are no shows of mine that involve anything that looks like documentary.