One audience member was curious about the style it was written in...
"I really like absurd work...I think it fits this situation. I think everything is political...like going to the supermarket, or the kind of car you drive, or holding the door open, or not. So, when people talk about political theater, it can be distasteful to some people because it's too direct...for me the most accessible political theater is stuff that's a little more abstract, so the people in the audience don't feel directly attacked but they do feel directly involved. So they feel implicated without being attacked. And then we can work through it a little better." -Brenda Withers, playwright
As other questions were posed, Ms. Withers would often throw them back to the audience: "I'm curious about what you think..." she would say. While happy to fill in some of the back story of the how and why of writing The Ding Dongs, it became clear that Ms. Withers' own curiosity drives her and that her goal is to stimulate the audience's thoughts, guesses, and interpretations...allowing each of us to process the play within our own framework of experiences.
In that vein, some of our Board members are sharing their thoughts...
"One of the things I love about The Ding Dongs is that it invites many interpretations. When I first read the script, the migrant caravan immediately came to mind. I thought that surely Brenda Withers was writing to illuminate that situation. It turns out, no, she wrote this play years ago, long before parents and children from Central America embarked on their journey toward the United States. The thing is, the play is written abstractly. It doesn’t name the traumatic turn of events that Joe and Natalie have experienced. Because it doesn’t have to be about one particular refugee crisis, I decided it can really ask bigger questions about how populations have migrated throughout history. Those shifting populations are often catalyzed by a need to escape violence and persecution. When and where have these migrations caused death and destruction versus acceptance and opportunity?
Here’s the great thing about this play, though: you don’t need to see all of those layers to enjoy the show. On its face, it is a funny, suspenseful thriller that will keep you guessing. And I’ve found, over the last two weeks, that many of our patrons have had wildly different interpretations. That’s fascinating to me, and satisfying. It’s never my intention to dictate what meaning my work has to each individual patron. You bring your own worldview and life experiences to the play. Each patron is having an individual experience and a communal experience at the same time. And I’m so glad to be a part of it."
-Lynn Lammers, Kickshaw Artistic Director