Inside Ruby's Mind: Brooke Allen, Playwright
What’s your name and what are you doing here?
My name is Brooke Allen and I am the writer of Ruby Wilder. Also, this question cracked me up. I looked around and thought, “I LIVE here, what are YOU doing here?”
How did you find yourself to being a part of Ruby Wilder?
Many many years ago I kept finding myself coming back to an image in my mind of two girls, probably sisters, who were running from something in the woods. I never quite knew what I wanted to do with this idea until years later when I decided to combine this image with the idea of a person facing off with their biggest demon. I remember that day at work when it came together for me and I was frantically scribbling notes down on post-it’s about the structure of the play. The rest is history.
What about this play excites you?
A lot about this play excites me! I wrote the play with the hope that it would act like a playground for directors and designers. I feel like there are so many different directions or areas of focus that different people might be interested in. It’s always a lot of fun for me to see how the play is interpreted. I wouldn’t want to write a play and then have to watch it be produced the exact same way every time, part of the excitement for me lies in the fact that this play requires so much teamwork amongst director, designers and actors. The script is only one small piece of the puzzle.
What about this play scares you?
What scares me about this play is how I inadvertently managed to expose my insecurities as a playwright through Ruby. Here is someone who is creating a story in her mind, creating all the players, and fighting with the constant nagging of traditional structure. I’m actually a big scaredy-cat when it comes to horror films, thrillers and all things “creepy” so dipping into that world was unnerving for me. But to me this isn’t just a play about a serial killer and someone getting revenge. It’s about fighting your way through memories and revisionist history and fear and insecurity to face whatever it is in your mind that you fear most…and kill it.
How do you feel about writing a piece with such a strong female at the center of it?
I feel unsurprised. Women and men are equally capable of being complex people. As a woman I certainly don’t think that women are weak as a baseline, so I guess I never thought I was writing someone who was capable of more than any woman, or person, is. I didn’t set out to write a heroine, just a woman. She is at times insecure, fragile, wounded and afraid. Other times she is funny, brave, powerful and sexual. To me it’s not that Ruby is an especially strong woman, she’s especially strong because she is a woman.
Who is your favorite badass woman?
Beatrix Kiddo from “Kill Bill”. I feel like I should say something less obvious and more profound like “my mom” or “Joan d’Arc” or “Emily Dickinson”, but no, it’s totally Beatrix Kiddo from “Kill Bill”. The first time I watched that movie I found myself cheering and crying and sitting on the edge of my seat. I don’t think she is actually very similar to Ruby, but I think they would be friends. And then maybe kill each other.
In five words or less, why should people come see Ruby Wilder?
Guns! Revenge! Romance! Ghosts! Plastic!