Ayad Akhtar made his Broadway debut in 2014 with Disgraced, earning a Tony nomination (after winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) in the process. The playwright took head on issues of identity, religion, xenophobia, and the realities of living as a Muslim in the United States post-9/11. This season, the groundbreaking playwright tackled another thorny issue: Wall Street. In Junk, Akhtar exposed the wheelings and dealings of corporate takeovers and financial boardroom wrestling and industry corruption while raising questions of morality and what makes the American spirit.
Akhtar simply hopes people left the theatre with clarity. “I hope that people took away from Junk some kind of a perspective of how the system works,” he says in the video above. “I didn’t want anyone to come away with a particular idea, I just wanted them to have a bit of better understanding.”
That seems to be the throughline of his work, and what inspires the narratives he writes. “I think [ideas] are always swimming about. A good idea for a story is not just one idea, it’s when three or four ideas suddenly come together, so a lot of times it’s just waiting,” the playwright explains. “Then over time another idea will enter the orbit and start turning around that one and they become one. Bam! One day it all comes together. That’s been my experience every time.”
Watch the full video interview above.