Lynn Nottage Goes With the Wind

PlayBlog   Lynn Nottage Goes With the Wind
Lord knows Lynn Nottage has a comedy coming her way after Ruined, her harrowing, Pulitzer Prize winner about the continuing war on Congolese women.

Hopefully, it’s a comedy,” the playwright says teasingly. “We’ll see. It’s going to be at Second Stage at the end of the 2010-2011 season. It’s called By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, and it’s about a movie star in the 1930s and her maid, and they both want to get roles in a movie like ‘Gone With the Wind.’”

The title is based on a line agent Myron Selznick supposedly said when he introduced Vivien Leigh to his producer-brother, David O. Selznick, while back-lot Atlanta was in flames: “By the way, David, I want you to meet your Scarlett O’Hara.”

Nottage dreamed up this play as counter-therapy for the ravages of Ruined. “It was very much like when I was writing Intimate Apparel and Fabulation at the same time. Intimate Apparel demanded of me to go some place very deep, whereas, with Fabulation, I could go the opposite direction — to a place that was frivolous and fun. When I needed a break from Ruined, I went to the other play. I needed it. I’m a writer, and I love to write.”

Does she have dramatic “backup”? “I’m afraid not. All of my energy is going into this.”

The star who brought the New York Drama Critics to their knees and won their Best Play prize for Intimate Apparel would be just fine with Nottage for the lead in this new comedy: “Viola is an acting goddess. I would put her in anything.” (The twice-Tonyed Viola Davis might be receptive the idea, too, having found her hubby understudying the romantic lead in Intimate Apparel: Julius Tennon.)

— Harry Haun

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