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How Lucy Alibar's Southern childhood became fodder for the stage




Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Craig Schwartz

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Oscar-nominated screenwriter and playwright Lucy Alibar is best known for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Now, she's returned to her theatrical roots with a one-woman show inspired by her Southern upbringing and her relationship with her father — a criminal defense attorney with an ever-growing "burnpile" of junk in the backyard.  

The play is called "Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up." It began as a collection of short stories and was adapted for the stage after Alibar teamed up with director Neel Keller. It is also being adapted into a pilot for FX.

To hear the full conversation, click the play button at the top of the page.
 

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

How fans helped inspire the play:

Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Craig Schwartz

I was going with the ["Beasts of the Southern Wild"] crew to screenings around the world and it was so rewarding and also interesting because for the [Q&A's], people would come at me with these very personal stories about their parents. And some of them were really tragic and some of them were just funny, weird things that their parents did, or [were] about being a parent. And so I was in this position of talking to people about their weird families. And when I would do early morning writing that was just for myself, that was sort of where my head was, the specific oddities of my own family.

On getting emotional on stage:

I wasn’t sure at first why I was writing these [stories] down because they seemed to me at the time like random moments from my childhood. And when I started telling them to people, it would suddenly get very emotional and I realized there was some way that I hadn’t dealt with that, or that moment was just very meaningful to me, or that I just always held onto that kindness that somebody had shown me in a hard moment... I’m a very private person in a lot of ways, but when I allow myself to just tell that to the audience, I do get kind of emotional.

Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Playwright/performer Lucy Alibar in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up” at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre.
Craig Schwartz

On her father's influence:

My dad is somebody who believes that our constitution is what makes our country [what] it is, what we all should aspire to. Especially in the South, especially in Florida, that worldview is not necessarily shared. We're in the Bible Belt and so that's a very different worldview of justice. Growing up, I heard such very diametrically opposed world views that it forced me to think about that...

He really gave me new ideas about what the South can be and thus how we as a country can evolve. Because I really think the South is where our hardest work needs to [happen]  to take our country to where we need to go.

"Throw Me On the Burnpile and Light Me Up" is at the Kirk Douglas Theatre through Oct. 10. 



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