Last March* we asked Youngblood playwright Paul Cameron Hardy about his new Unfiltered show MOPE, and he's given us some insight into his process and how the play has grown from its original idea.
How long have you been working on this script?
I put my fingers on a keyboard in May of 2014, though I spent probably about a year taking serious notes about the play before I actually began to write it as a play, and I have been fleshing out my ideas for the greater world this play inhabits (it is part of a series? cycle? of (I think) five plays I am writing about contemporary pornography) for over a decade. the thing that actually spurred me to stop taking notes and start writing was my Youngblood application in 2014.
What is the origin story of MOPE?
I have wanted to write about contemporary pornography in America for quite some, because it is such an odd, sprawling, complicated part of our collective consciousness. For the longest time, couldn't figure out how to cram such a huge, fertile topic into one play. I am a bit embarrassed that it took me as many years as it did to realize that I could just write a bunch of plays and have fun figuring different ways to connect them all. 'Mope' seemed a good starting point, as this odd subcommunity is fascinating at relatively untouched by the prying eyes of 'storytellers' (like the Vh1 show).
MOPE seems rooted in a specific geographic culture, have you lived in California before?
How has working with the cast been? Have you made any changes to the script through the rehearsal process?
Everyone has been terrible and, quite frankly, I am sick and tired of having to carry everyone else involved in the process.
As tends to be the case when I make a piece of theatre, once all of the actors (and designers!) show up, it becomes painfully clear just how thoroughly they outshine me. The cast has been generous and game from the very beginning, and have helped me understand the play a great deal more than I did two months ago. They are also all very good looking.
The process has been rife with script changes, and I hope they have all been perfect.
When did you know you wanted to be a playwright?
When I was a wee seventeen-year-old, and I wrote my first play, which starred Clare Barron.
Edited: December 16th 2016, MOPE returns to EST as a Mainstage Production.
MOPE runs through January 11th- February 04, 2017 at 7:00 PM