Spotlight On: Molly Rydzel, Part of Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

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The Clyde Fitch Report is supporting the actors, playwrights, directors and associated artists appearing in the first annual Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, a new “eco-friendly” festival designed to promote social and cultural awareness. At least 26 not-for-profit organizations with benefit from the proceeds raised by this 19-day event.

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Today’s featured artist is playwright Molly Rydzel; the play is Everybody Dies. Each artist answers two questions — see below.

All performances are at:
440 Theaters
440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor
(between Astor Place and E. 4th St.)
212-352-3101

Performances:
June 11, 6:30 pm
June 12 7:30 pm
June 14 11:00 am
June 16 8:30 pm
June 18 6:00 pm
June 21 2:30 pm

Produced by Edible Brains Productions benefiting Play for P.I.N.K.
Written by Molly Rydzel

Everybody Dies examines a love triangle that takes place during the commencement of a world-wide suicide pact.

Since the Festivity aims to promote social and cultural awareness in our community, can you talk about how your show will bring people together? Is the subject matter of the play — or is it more style or message or language?
Everybody Dies takes place in an alternate universe where civil liberties are challenged on the most basic level — the right of an individual to live or die. The characters represent a broad political spectrum of personalities, ranging from Moral Majority-types to extreme leftists (and the ambivalence in between). The style and language are both modern as well as retro. Because the alternate world that exists is different but the same as the real world we all live in, we have chosen to transcend the decades to combine the aspects of each one that relate to the underlying message of the piece; the right to life. We reference slang and costumes from the ’50s, revolutionary rhetoric from the ’60s and ’70s, and we feature a soundtrack from all the decades, especially ’80s love ballads (perfect for teen angst). The cast is young and hip, and have helped to shape the ultra-modern dialogue that flawlessly links these American eras.

What role does politics play in your work as a theater artist? What role should it play?
I feel it is the duty and occupation of the artist to reflect the society upon which we live. I write in caffeine-fueled bursts. And upon rereading I usually find that I have subconsciously produced pieces dedicated to political satire. Inspiration comes from an array of political backgrounds, specifically from the former Soviet Union. At the height of Communism, the U.S.S.R. produced some amazing pieces of science fiction that have remained a strong influence on my work. To get work published that commented on the political landscape, authors had to camouflage their intentions to get them past the censors. They set their stories in alternate universes with fantastical premises to deceive the controlling political parties. Authors like Bulgakov, Stanislaw Lem, Zamyatin and the Strugatsky brothers crafted pieces of disturbingly relevant beauty. They continue to have a giant influence over me and my work. Although censorship is not necessarily something we fear in today’s America, the shrinking separation of the global community brings us to a unique point in history. Nations such as the Soviet Union and China are now much more powerful than we could have imagined and it represents a unique time for art and politics to combine and create a magnificent reflection of an existence that science-fiction authors could only dream about.