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Three Playwrights on Inspiration: Drunk Girls, Damon Albarn, and Definitely Not Jonathan Safran Foer

Left: Moses; Right: Bock.Photo: Patrick McMullan


Earlier this week, at the opening party for Itamar Moses's new play The Four of Us, we grilled three very different playwrights over what bizarre preoccupations fed their latest works. The theme developed when Moses denied recent reports that his show is a thinly veiled account of his friendship with the author Jonathan Safran Foer, who in real life received a whopping advance for his first book — the very kind of artistic windfall that throws off the balance of friendship between the two brainy, needy guys in Moses's play. "I have dozens and dozen of close friends who are writers," he said. "Some are more successful than I am and some are less so."

Meanwhile, Adam Bock, whose play The Drunken City opened this week at Playwrights Horizons, says his show was inspired by the drunk, shrieking B&T girls that descend on his Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, whom he rather inexplicably claims to be fond of. "Drunk girls are funny," he said. "I love them. They come to New York and it's kind of magical, like going into the Forest of Arden in or A Midsummer Night's Dream. The lights are sparkling and there's all these cars going by and you don't know who you're going to meet. Of course they get excited and loud."

Speaking of excited and loud, that's how we got when we saw the long-dormant Nicky Silver, whose new play, Three Changes, also opens at Playwrights, in late August. His show's title, he told us, is inspired by a song by Blur frontman turned opera writer Damon Albarn, whom Silver worships. "He's very beautiful, a real genius," he said. "His journey from composer of disposable pop tunes to opera is the longest artistic journey I'm aware of. I have about 3,000 of his recordings on my iPod. I once found a dealer of his bootlegs in Moscow and he wouldn't take money because it's illegal. So I had to send him 300 American NHL hockey playing cards, which he was obsessed with." —Tim Murphy