Inside Ruby's Mind: James Palmer, Director



What’s your name and what are you doing here?

Palmer. James Palmer. Weaver of dreams.


How did you find yourself to being a part of Ruby Wilder?

Dan Caffrey is holding my child hostage.  Seriously, if you see him call the police.



What about this play excites you?

Brooke Allen excites me.  She has an uncanny way of exploding a dramatic event, freezing time, and allowing us to inspect the scattering debris before it’s incinerated.  It’s like the Cornelia Parker installation piece Cold Dark Matter.  This style of Brooke’s, for me, is a close approximation of how we experience the world.


Cold Dark Matter - Photo courtesy of Tate Modern Website

What about this play scares you?

This is a play about forgiveness.  What’s more scary, it’s a play about forgiving yourself.  We stumble through life making choices, assuming we understand the consequences until one day – boom – something terrible happens.  Suddenly the world around us appears alien.  We find ourselves lost and confused and the path back to normalcy and security is dark and foreboding.  The hardest part of that journey is self forgiveness.  But until you do that, you can’t trust anything; including yourself.

Themes of PTSD, Stockholm syndrome, anxiety disorder and other forms of psychological trauma are found in Ruby.  It’s challenging material at times but Brooke handles it in an honest and approachable way.







How do you feel about directing a piece with such a strong female at the center of it?

I hate colonialism in all its forms – brazen and subtle.  Chicago has a sick fascination with angry white men spitting and growling on stage and spreading their Adam Smith psychology.  Can we get another prospective?  Please?

Who is your favorite badass woman?

Martha Lavey.  She took a beer-swilling ensemble of manly-men and turned it into a national icon for new work and innovation.  Well, she and Amy Morton, Anna Shapiro, Tina Landau…

 In five words or less, why should people come see Ruby Wilder?

Esse est percipi